Ringworm is a common infection that affects the skin. It is caused by a fungus and not by a worm as its name suggests! It commonly affects children but can affect all age groups.
Doctors call fungal infections "tinea". They then add a second word depending on where on the body the infection affects.
For example, a fungal infection affecting the skin of the feet is called tinea pedis (athlete's foot). A fungal infection affecting the skin of the body is called tinea corporis and that affecting the scalp is called tinea capitis. Infection of the nails is called tinea unguium and infection of the groin is called tinea cruris.
When a doctor talks about ringworm, they usually mean a fungal infection affecting the skin of the body, or tinea corporis.
How do you catch ringworm?
Everyone has a small amount of fungus that lives on the skin. Ringworm/fungal infection can be caused if this fungus increases in number and grows out of its normal proportion.
This abnormal growth is aided by heat and moisture and so makes fungal skin infections more likely in the hot and sweaty areas of our body such as the feet, groin and underneath the breasts.
Fungus that causes ringworm may also come from soil or from animals such as cats and dogs.
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