What are the symptoms of ringworm?
The main symptom of ringworm is an itchy and inflamed ring-like rash that can be red, silvery in colour or darker than your skin tone. The edge of the rash is usually darker and more scaly than the centre's healthy skin, making it look like a ring. The ring gets more prominent as the rash spreads.
What does ringworm look like?
Ringworm looks like a ring-like rash that can affect anywhere on the body and is commonly found on arms and legs. The skin inside the ring usually looks healthy, with the ring itself being inflamed, scaly and raised. Depending on your skin tone, the ring can be silvery, red or darker than your normal skin colour.
The ring will grow as the infection spreads. In more severe cases, several rings may merge, and blisters or sores can form around the rings.
Ringworm on the face and neck may not form a ring. The rash will still be swollen and itchy and become crusted.
What does ringworm feel like?
A ringworm rash is itchy and irritating.
How long does ringworm last?
Ringworm can clear up on its own, but doctors recommend anti-fungal treatment to ensure the infection stops spreading.
Ringworm that affects the body can be treated within 2 and 4 weeks. More severe cases or those affecting the scalp may require oral antifungals for 1 to 3 months.
There are no severe long-term complications associated with ringworm, but it can lead to scars and hair loss if it affects your scalp. As ringworm is a fungal infection, the more it grows, the greater the chance you will pass it on to others.
Getting rid of the infection can be more challenging if you have an autoimmune disease.
When should I talk to a doctor about my ringworm?
Talk to your doctor if:
- your ringworm persists
- ringworm is affecting your scalp
- you suspect your child has ringworm
- you or your child is immune compromised (e.g. from diabetes, chemotherapy or steroids)
Your doctor may prescribe you an oral medication to treat the ringworm in some cases.