Ringworm is a fungal skin infection. (It is not due to a worm as its name implies!) There are many types of fungal germs (fungi) and some can infect the skin, nails, and hair. Fungal infections are also known as “tinea” or “dermatophyte infections” or “dermatophytosis”. This leaflet just deals with ringworm of the skin (sometimes called tinea corporis).


  • From person to person by touching a person who has the infection.
  • From touching items which have been in contact with an infected person. For example, towels, clothes, bed linen or chairs which have been used by somebody who has ringworm.
  • From animals. Some animals such as dogs, cats, guinea pigs and cattle have fungal infections on their skin. They can pass on the infection, especially to children.
  • (Animals can be treated too if you suspect a pet is the cause. See your vet.) Farm animals can also be a source. Touching a farm gate where infected animals pass
  • through may be enough to infect your skin.
  • From soil. Rarely, fungi can be present in soil, and you can get the infection from contact with soil.


Ringworm Signs & symptoms:

  • Small patches of scaly skin on the scalp, which may be sore.
  • Patchy hair loss.
  • An itchy scalp.
  • In more severe cases, symptoms can also include:
  • Small, pus-filled sores on the scalp
  • Crusting on the scalp