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Should You Bandage Ringworm?

By Nicki Howell ; Updated July 27, 2017

Ringworm is a fungal skin infection, according to Medline Plus. The infection can occur almost anywhere on the body, including the scalp, groin area and feet. It is contagions and can be spread by skin-to-skin contact or by using contaminated items, such as a towel. Ringworm can also be transmitted from animals to people. If you have ringworm, you may wonder if you should cover it with a bandage to lessen the risk of passing it to someone else.

Contain the Infection

Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, advises against bandaging. The infection heals best when left open. But take care to keep people from coming in contact with the infected area or anything that has touched the infected area. Healing can take two to four weeks and possibly longer.

Apply Anti-fungal Creams

Anti-fungal creams can clear up many cases of ringworm. Topical medications such as Lotrimin, Micatin and Tinactin are available over the counter. Before applying anti-fungal cream, wash and dry the infection site. After the area is clean, apply a thin layer of the medication up to twice daily. Continue applying for two weeks or longer. The Mayo Clinic recommends contacting your doctor if ringworm doesn’t improve after four weeks.

Oral Treatments

If leaving the infection open and treating with anti-fungal cream doesn’t work, your doctor may prescribe an oral medication. These medications include Sporanox, Lamisil and Diflucan. Do not take any of these drugs if you are on medications for acid reflux or blood clotting.

Ringworm Prevention

Although ringworm is difficult to prevent, you can reduce your chances of future infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. Wash your hands often and don’t share items, such as towels. Avoid wearing heavy clothes for long periods of time, as it can create moist conditions for ringworm to live. Also, stay away from animals that have patches of hair missing, which could be ringworm.

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