Ringworm Symptoms & Diagnosis
Ringworm, caused by a fungus and not a worm, causes a nasty rash regardless of where the infection occurs on the body. Capable of occurring anywhere on the body, the rash can take on different traits based on its location.
Most common, ringworm of the body appears on the chest, back, stomach, legs, or arms. The rash grows in a circular form, giving the rash a round appearance. The edge of the rash is always red and raised, and usually crusted or scaly. The middle of the rash may be slightly red or pinkish, or may even be clear.
On occasion red bumps will be present in clusters in the middle of the rash. With the raised red ring around a lighter center, the round rash was called ‘ringworm’ because it looks like there is a worm in a ring under your skin. As stated above, this rash is not caused by a worm or any other parasitic creature, and is in fact caused by a fungus, typically Trichophyton rubrum. As it spreads, the ring may grow larger and other round patches may appear. It is typically quite itchy; the itchiness is usually exasperated by a humid environment, such as a shower or swimming pool.
Ringworm can also infect a person’s face. Ringworm of the face has been known to appear on the face or on the ears. While the ring is not always as distinct, the rash will still be red with either clusters of bumps or raised red areas. Sun exposure typically makes ringworm of the face look worse and become itchier. As with all fungal infections, humid environments enable ringworm to thrive.
Ringworm of the groin, also known as jock itch, is common on the groin, inner thighs, and buttocks. Typically, the rash will not occur on the scrotum or penis, but the edges of this rash are very distinctive and the bumps will easily turn into blisters.
Ringworm of the hand is often mistaken for eczema, and can occur on the palm, between the fingers, on the back of the hand, or some combination thereof. Similar to athlete’s foot, ringworm occurring on the palm will cause thickened skin with a dry, scaly feel to it. Ringworm occurring between the fingers typically creates open sores that are very itchy; the sores remain moist with pus until treated. When ringworm occurs on the back of the hand, it is more similar to ringworm occurring on the body. It is red and scaly, but typically comes with bumps that look like blisters.
Regardless of where the ringworm occurs, it is itchy, uncomfortable, and embarrassing. If you have ringworm, start treatment as soon as possible to avoid spreading the ringworm to other parts of your body or to someone else.