Ringworm is a type of fungal skin infection that people can get from contact with a person or animal that has a ringworm infection. According to the National Institutes of Health, while people of all ages can get ringworm, it is especially common among children.
Symptoms of a ringworm include itchy, red patches that may be raised. If you get ringworm on your scalp or where you have facial hair, ringworm will cause a bald patch.
Doctors usually diagnose ringworm based on the appearance of the skin or by using a blue light to see if the area is florescent. A doctor can also collect skin cells and view them under a microscope to test for ringworm.
While over-the-counter ointments can be used to treat ringworm, doctors may prescribe a lotion, cream, ointment or oral medication.
While ringworm will usually go away over a month's time, there can be long-term effects, including the spread of the ringworm to other parts of the body, bacterial skin infections or permanent baldness if the ringworm is on the scalp or where facial hair grows.
You can help prevent getting ringworm by washing your hands regularly, especially after contact with animals. Also refrain from sharing personal items such as clothing or towels and keep common areas clean.