This is a contagious skin condition which has nothing to do with worms but is named for the fact that the rash appears as ‘ring’ shaped. It is an itchy but not painful type of rash which is easy to treat.

Ringworm is an umbrella term for a group of fungal infections which affects both children and adults. These infections develop in the hair, nails and skin but can also appear on other parts of the body such as the feet.

A fungal infection of the feet is better known as ‘athlete’s foot’.

The medical term for ringworm of the scalp is ‘tinea capitis’.

The medical term for ringworm of the body is ‘tinea corporis’.

If your baby has ringworm on his/her scalp then this can easily be mistaken for cradle cap or dandruff. This is understandable as ringworm presents as a scaly red rash which looks very similar to cradle cap. If this is the case then ask your health visitor or GP for advice as the two skin conditions look very similar to each other.

Symptoms of ringworm

This appears as a series of red, scaly patches of skin which are ring shaped; and each has a smooth centre and crusty raised edges. These increase in size as the infection develops and in some cases several of these rings join together.

If this rash develops on the scalp then hair may be lost from inside these patches which results in bald areas on the scalp. Scalp based ringworm will develop as either dry, flaky patches or fluid filled blisters. The problem with this is that it may be confused with cradle cap or eczema.

Causes of ringworm

There are several causes of ringworm which include:

  • Cut or graze on the skin
  • Contact with soil
  • Pet, e.g. cat or dog
  • Contact with a person who is infected with ringworm
  • Sharing infected clothing, bedding, towels etc

It is highly contagious so very easy to pick from contact with an infected object or person.

Treatment of ringworm

This can include natural remedies such as diluted tea tree oil or aloe vera. If not then try an anti-fungal cream or lotion. Prevent your baby from rubbing or scratching the rash (mittens can help). Make sure that any bedding, clothes or towels used by your infected baby are not used by you and other members of your family.

If you are not sure about what to use on your baby then ask your pharmacist or GP for advice.

If the rash persists or worsens then contact your GP.

Complications of ringworm

This usually responds to treatment but it can result in scarring or hair loss in a few rare cases. There is a slight risk of a secondary bacterial infection or an additional fungal infection but again, this tends to be rare.

© Medic8® | All Rights Reserved