How to Treat Ringworm That Won't Go Away

Ringworm is a contagious infection that develops after tinea, a common fungus, begins to grow on your body. You can acquire tinea from an infected person or animal, and also if your skin is exposed to damp contaminated surfaces. Ringworm gets its name from the circular, raised appearance of the ringworm rash; it is not caused by a worm, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians 2. Most people can eliminate ringworm with over-the-counter anti-fungal creams, but ringworm that does not respond to these medications requires more aggressive treatment.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

See your doctor. If you have attempted to treat your ringworm for two to four weeks without success, medical treatment with a prescription anti-fungal cream or an oral anti-fungal medication is necessary.

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Apply prescription anti-fungal cream to your ringworm rash as your doctor directs. Doctor-prescribed topical medications are stronger than over-the-counter creams, and they may be effective on your tough case of ringworm.

Talk to your doctor about oral anti-fungal medications. These prescription medicines are reserved for fungal infections that have been resistant to other treatments. Ringworm will usually respond quickly to anti-fungal pills, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.


To reduce your risk of future ringworm infections, keep your skin clean and dry, wash your hair often, avoid sharing clothes and other personal items, wear shoes in public places and avoid touching animals with bald patches.


Watch for signs of a secondary bacterial infection, such as redness, swelling, warmth, discharge or fever, when you have ringworm. See your doctor if you suspect an infection; you may need to be treated with antibiotics.