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Skin rashes take many forms. Depending on the cause, a rash can be red, skin-colored, moist, dry, bumpy or smooth. Some skin rashes form in random, non-distinct patches, while others are more defined in shape. If you have noticed the appearance of dry red circles on your skin, schedule an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist. He will be able to determine the exact cause and suggest an effective treatment.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Ringworm and Lyme disease are two infections that commonly cause dry red circles to form on your skin 2. Ringworm is a fungal infection that can surface on your scalp, feet or groin. Ringworm rashes are circular in shape with red edges and a skin-colored interior. The rash can cause itching and have a raised, scaly appearance. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted through tick bites 2. Dry red circles on the skin are among the early symptoms of the disease. Lyme disease rashes consist of a large, red outer ring encircling a skin-colored interior with a small red circle in the center 2. In most cases, Lyme disease rashes will not cause pain or itching 2.
Itchy Skin Between the Toes
According to MedlinePlus, over-the-counter anti-fungal medications containing active ingredients like clotrimazole or miconazole are typically effective in relieving dry red circles associated with ringworm 1. More-severe ringworm infections might require a stronger prescription-strength medication like ketoconazole. According to Kidshealth, relieving the dry red circles associated with Lyme disease requires treating the underlying infection with a round of antibiotics 2.
The fungi that are responsible for ringworm infections thrive in warm, moist locations, so keeping your skin and your hair cool, clean and dry is the best way to help prevent ringworm. The only way to prevent Lyme disease is to avoid contact with infected ticks 2. Always wear long pants and longsleeved-shirts whenever you spend time outdoors. Kidshealth suggests wearing an insect repellent that contains at least 20 percent of the active ingredient DEET 2.
Can You Get a Ringworm on the Mouth?
Ringworm is a highly contagious fungal infection. According to MedlinePlus, you can spread ringworm from person to person not only through direct skin contact, but also by sharing contaminated personal items like combs, brushes, clothing and towels 1. Unlike ringworm, Lyme disease is not contagious 2. You can only contract Lyme disease if you are bitten by an infected tick 2.
Most promptly treated ringworm cases clear up with no problem. However, complications can occur in some cases. Scratching your skin excessively can cause a bacterial infection. Signs of infection include fever and increased redness, swelling or pus discharge from your rash. Complications associated with Lyme disease include heart problems, nervous system disorders and meningitis 2. If you have Lyme disease and are experiencing chest pain, irregular heartbeat, joint pain or numbness and tingling in your arms and legs, see your doctor immediately 2.
- Most promptly treated ringworm cases clear up with no problem.
- Signs of infection include fever and increased redness, swelling or pus discharge from your rash.
Itchy Skin Between the Toes
Can You Get a Ringworm on the Mouth?
Causes of a Skin Rash on Hands and Feet
What Are the Causes of Intense Painful Itching?
Ringworm in Babies
Itchy Red Circles on the Skin
How to Use Bleach to Cure Ringworm
Symptoms of Infantigo
How to Kill Ringworm on the Arms
Dry Cracked Skin Around the Toes
- MedlinePlus: Ringworm
- KidsHealth: Lyme Disease
- Skar GL, Simonsen KA. Lyme Disease. [Updated 2018 Oct 27]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK431066/
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- Jabbari N, Glusman G, Joesch-Cohen LM, et al. Whole genome sequence and comparative analysis of Borrelia burgdorferi MM1. PLoS One. 2018;13(6):e0198135. Published 2018 Jun 11. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0198135
- Lymedisease.org About Lyme Disease. 2018
- Koester TM, Meece JK, Fritsche TR, Frost HM. Infectious Mononucleosis and Lyme Disease as Confounding Diagnoses: A Report of 2 Cases. Clin Med Res. 2018;16(3-4):66–68. doi:10.3121/cmr.2018.1419
- Arvikar SL, Crowley JT, Sulka KB, Steere AC. Autoimmune Arthritides, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, or Peripheral Spondyloarthritis Following Lyme Disease. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2017;69(1):194–202. doi:10.1002/art.39866
- Patrick DM, Miller RR, Gardy JL, et al. Lyme Disease Diagnosed by Alternative Methods: A Phenotype Similar to That of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Clin Infect Dis. 2015;61(7):1084-91.
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Signs and Symptoms of Untreated Lyme Disease. cdc.gov August 15, 2019
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Two-Step Laboratory Testing Process. Updated March 26, 2015.
- National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Chronic Lyme Disease. National Institutes of Health. Updated September 3, 2015.
Tamara Moffett is a freelance copywriter with a bachelor's degree in English and over seven years of experience. She specializes in writing persuasive sales copy, news stories and feature articles for magazines. Her work has appeared online and in the pages of publications like "Green Business Quarterly," "Black Ink Magazine" and the "Daily Journal of Commerce."