Ringworm; Types, management, symptoms and prevention


This is an infection of the skin, hair, or nails caused by various kinds of fungi that belong to the general trichophyton, Epidermophyton and microsporum. The fungi that causes superficial skin infections are called dermatophytes. The dermatophyte (tinea) infection are named by the body part affected.

Incubation period; 10-14days, however in tinea unguium, the incubation period is unknown.

Types of Ringworms

Tinea pedis (ringworm of the feet); is also called the athlete’s foot. There is moderate to severe itching, accompanied by foul odour. 

Tinea capitis (ringworm of the scalp); Ringworm of the scalp is a contagious fungal infection of the hair shafts and a common cause of hair loss in children. There is one or several round patches of redness and scaling of the skin. As the hairs in the affected areas are invaded by the fungi, they become brittle and break off at the surface of the scalp, resulting in areas of baldness. The hair loss is only temporal and the area heals without scaring.

Tinea corporis (ringworm of the body); this usually affects non-hairy parts of the body; face, neck, and extremities. This may cause intense itching and rings of vesicles with central clearing. It may extend to the scalp, hair and nails.

Tinea cruris (ringworm of the groin); it occurs most frequently in joggers, obese people and those who wear tight underclothing. It affects the groin which may extend to the inner thighs and buttocks. 

Tinea unguium (ringworm of the nails): this is a chronic fungal infection of the toe nails or less commonly the fingernails. The nails become thickened and friable.


  1. Griseofulvin is given for 6 weeks but when the nails are involved, it is given for 6 months.
  2. Shave to allow for fresh air.
  3. Wash the scalp with soap and apply whitfield’s ointment which consists Benzoic acid and Salicylic acid ointment.
  4. Nail plate infection requires systemic antifungal agents.
  5. Ensure personal hygiene regularly.
  6. Ketoconazole is good for chronic fungal infection including those resistance to griseofulvin.


  • Effective treatment of all infected persons.
  • Wash clothing regularly and dry in the sun.
  • Avoid using toilet article, clothes and bedding of infected persons.
  • Provide separate sleeping facilities for siblings.
  • Health education on the disease.

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