Ringworm: Five Facts

Ringworm (also spelled “ring worm”) is of intense interest to people, probably because the problems associated with ringworm are very widespread. At one point or another, you are likely to experience an issue related to ringworm, or at least you’ll know someone who is afflicted by this misleadingly-named human ailment. Since ringworm is the object of so much concern, we decided to compile this list of facts about ringworm. We have selected the following five facts about ringworm based on how interesting or surprising we think they are, not necessarily because they are the main features or most notable aspects of ringworm. Check out another article for a more general overview of ringworm.

(1) The first interesting and surprising fact about ringworm is that worms actually have nothing to do with ringworm. Ringworm is the name a skin infection that is caused by a fungus, not some type of bizarre worm that takes the shape of a ring. Ringworm can effect basically any part of your skin, from head to toe. (Literally: you can get ringworm on your scalp and on your feet, the latter of which goes by a common name that is the subject of our next fun fact.) However, even though ringworm has nothing to do with worms, people assume it does, and hence people will say “ringworms” (or “ring worms”), as if this term refers to several small creatures – in fact, the plural form of “ringworm” is not even a word according to at least one major dictionary (and this makes sense, considering that ringworm is not really the type of concept that can be meaningfully pluralized).

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(2) Ringworm on the feet and toes is known as “athlete’s foot.” We’ve all heard of athlete’s foot, but some of us might not know that this is just another name for ringworm. The symptoms of athlete’s foot are like those of ringworm afflicting other parts of the body, namely, red, itchy, scaly skin.

(3) Ringworm may affect people of all ages, although children are particularly susceptible to it. So, remain vigilant when you take your kids to the gym or pool (make sure they wear some form of shoes at all times) and also try to prevent them from sharing towels, hairbrushes, and similar such items with their friends.

(4) As this last fact suggests, ringworm is contagious. Ringworm is passed from person to person by skin-to-skin contact, and it can also be spread by touching a contaminated item. This is why it is good to avoid sharing things like towels and hairbrushes – if one person who uses the item has ringworm, they could easily pass it another person who uses that same item.

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(5) Even though ringworm is really annoying, it can actually be cured fairly easily, and a doctor’s visit isn’t even necessary unless symptoms get worse over time (and in which case certainly go to the doctor). If you have ringworm, keep your skin clean and dry, apply over-the-counter powders or creams, and wash your bedding daily. In a few weeks, you should be fine if you follow these steps.

That concludes our list of five interesting facts about ringworm. We hope you learned something!

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