Ringworm

Ringworm is a round pink, scaly patch with a raised border and a flat normal center. The ring slowly increases in size yet the center remains clear. Ringworm may be mildly itchy.  It is cause by a fungus infection of the skin.

Note: Ringworm of the skin is mildly contagious and after 48 hours of treatment is not contagious at all.  Your child does not need to miss school or daycare.

 WHAT TO DO:

Apply an antifungal cream that you can purchase over the counter (Tinactin, Micatin, or Lotrimin.) Apply the cream twice a day for at least 2 weeks.  Continue for 1 week after the patch is smooth and seems to be gone.

 WHEN TO CALL:

During office hours if:

  • the ringworm continues to spread after 1 week of treatment
  • the rash has not cleared up in 4 weeks
  • you have other questions or concerns

Immediately if:

Ringworm is never a medical emergency.  Please call with concerns only during office hours.

RINGWORM OF THE SCALP

Ringworm of the scalp causes round patches of hair loss that increase in size slowly.  Broken hair shafts at the surface of the scalp give a black-dot stubbed appearance.  The scalp may have some scaling and be mildly itchy. It usually affects children, and rarely adults.

 Ringworm is caused by a fungus, andover 90% of cases are spread from other infected children. Combs, brushes, hats, barrettes, seat backs, pillows and bath towels can transmit the fungus.  Less than 10% of the cases are caused by infected animals.

 With treatment, hair re-growth usually occurs but may take several months.  Ringworm of the scalp is not dangerous.  Some children develop a tender swelling that can drain pus; this sore is an allergic reaction to the fungus.  These kids may require an additional treatment with an oral steroid.

 CONTAGIOUSNESS:  Once your child has beenstarted on Griseofulvin he/she can return to school.  Your child should not share combs or hats with other children.

 WHAT TO DO:

  • Ringworm on the scalp will not get better with topical creams.  It requires a prescription medicine, Griseofulvin, by mouth for six to eight weeks.  Please call for an appointment.
  • Use an antifungal shampoo with selenium sulfide (like Selson Blue) once a week to make your child less contagious
  • Once your child has started Griseofulvin they can return to school.  Your child should not share combs or hats with other children. 

WHEN TO CALL

During office hours if:

  • the ringworm looks infected with pus or a yellow crust
  • the scalp becomes swollen
  • the ringworm continues to spread after 2 weeks of treatment
  • you have other questions or concerns

 

Immediately if:

Ringworm is never a medical emergency. Please call with concerns only during office hours.

Call or Visit

  • phone: (616) 243-9515

  • FAX: (616) 243-1815

  • after hours: (616) 776-7401

  • or contact us via the Patient Portal

  • Alger Pediatrics
    733 Alger St. SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49507