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Is Ringworm Really A Worm?

Ringworm may conjure up pictures of worms crawling around on the skin. However, ringworm is a fungus.

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Photo: Scott Ableman (Flickr)

Ringworm can commonly be found in pools and locker rooms. A lot of people come into contact with these areas which helps spread the fungus.

Ringworm is a very confusing term because it is really not a worm at all.

Ringworm is actually an infection caused by a fungus not a worm. This type of fungus also causes jock itch, scalp and nail infections, and athlete’s foot.

Then why is it called ringworm?

Well during ancient times, people thought that the reddish ring that develops from the infection was caused by a worm. It wasn’t until 1837 that a physician in Poland was able to determine that the rash was actually caused by a fungus.

How exactly can you become infected by the fungus?

The fungus is a common contaminant found at the pools and locker rooms of gyms.

The fungus can also be transmitted through direct skin contact with another person and through contact with infected animals. Cats are a very common carrier of the fungus.

Is there anything that your doctor can do to make your fungus go away?

Ringworm is easily treated using commonly available over the counter anti fungal products.

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