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Ringworm is an unpleasant rash that affects the skin, and can also affect the nails and scalp. Unlike it sounds, ringworm is not a “worm” at all – giving many people a much easier time handling this skin condition. Ringworm is caused by mold-like fungi called Dermatophytes that live on the dead tissues of skin, hair, and nails. This is a common skin condition among athletes who share equipment, locker rooms, showers, or who participate in a contact sport.

Ringworm is a very contagious rash that is easily transferred between people. The most common source of the rash-causing fungi is other people, so avoiding contact with someone with ringworm or with his or her equipment, towels, and clothing can help to prevent that you will contract the condition. It can be difficult to avoid ringworm, especially for athletes. The dermatophyte fungi are very common, and in places like locker rooms and showers that are humid and warm, these fungi thrive in the environments. Wearing your own flip-flops in the shower and around the locker room can prevent ringworm from developing on the feet (known as Athlete’s Foot). Making sure that you use a clean, dry towel after showering can help to prevent ringworm from developing on the body.

Wrestlers are one of the most common athletes to develop ringworm. Their extremely close proximity during wrestling matches make it very difficult to avoid ringworm. If a participant has ringworm, s/he must tell the coach because it is not allowed for an infected wrestler to participate. Even a brief brush of the infected skin can transfer the fungi to another person’s skin. If you discover a red, patchy, itchy area that has the distinct circular pattern of ringworm on your skin, it is important that you seek medical attention.

Ringworm is fairly easy to treat with an antifungal medication. A topical ointment is generally prescribed for ringworm on the skin, but an oral antifungal medication is generally required for ringworm of the scalp or nails. At Medical Dermatology Specialists, we can give you a specialized treatment plan to safely and effectively eliminate your fungal infection. Contact our practice today to schedule an appointment.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.