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How to Know if Ringworm Is Dying

By Ann LaPan ; Updated July 27, 2017

Despite its name, ringworm is actually a type of fungus. This fungus causes skin infections and irritations, such as redness, scaly patches, itchiness, and bald spots. It is called ringworm because the red irritation often looks like a red ring on the skin. Ringworm is contagious and easily passed between people through touch. Pets that are infected with ringworm can also pass the fungus to other pets or people. Although this infection can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, ringworm is treatable, and when the fungus is dying, you will be able to see a noticeable change in your health.

Look closely at the infected area after you’ve been treating it for a few days. Try to remember what it looked like before you began treating it, and compare it to what it looks like now. Note the red coloring. In active ringworm infections, the infected area is often bright red. If, over the course of treatment, you notice that the color is returning to your natural skin color, you can be reasonably certain that the ringworm is dying. If the ringworm has infected your nails, they may also be discolored. A return to a healthy nail color also means that the ringworm is dying.

Judge how itchy the affected area is. Ringworm infections often cause a lot of itching. If your skin feels less itchy, the ringworm is probably dying.

Watch for a change in the moisture level of the skin. Some ringworm infections create a weeping sore, which will begin to dry and flake as it heals. However, other ringworm infections cause scaly patches. As the ringworm dies, these patches will dissipate. Try to remember whether your infection was moist or dry before you began treating it in order to judge whether the ringworm is dying.

Observe the amount of swelling in the infected area. Swelling is a common symptom of ringworm. A reduction in swelling is a good sign that the treatment is working and the ringworm is dying.

Look for hair re-growth. Ringworm often causes bald patches if it infects an area covered by hair. New hair growth will be easier to spot if the infected area is on your head, or the fur of an animal, but if the infection occurred on an arm or leg, you may also be able to spot new hair growth. This hair growth means that the ringworm is no longer affecting that area, and is dying.

Tip

Although ringworm may show signs of dying before the treatment is complete, it’s important to continue treating the infection for as long as prescribed, in order to make sure that it is completely gone.

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