Thursday, July 8, 2010

Is ringworm contagious?

So I think we got it!  First it was my older daughter... small circular red rash on her left forearm.  I have no idea where she got it from.  Since incubation is around 10 days after exposure, it may be hard to pinpoint.  The rash went away in a couple of days after treatment with topical antifungal cream.  Unfortunately, my younger one got it too but more widespread so it is taking longer to completely go away.  Plus, I think she is rolling around too much and we probably should have done a better job washing all her bed sheets and clothing when we initially found the rash.  Now that we are nearing 2 weeks of treatment, it is mostly resolved and I think the lesions left are actually eczema.  In fact, children with eczema are more prone to ringworm.

So what is ringworm?  Some may actually think has to do with worms because of the name.  Not the case. Ringworm is a fungal infection that is fairly common especially in children.  Itchy red, raised rash that is usually circular... usually found on the extremities and sometimes the scalp.

Is it contagious?  Yes, usually by skin to skin contact or sometimes by contact with things like clothing, bedsheets, etc.  Wrestlers are known to transmit this back and forth because of close skin to skin contact and wrestling mats.  Kids are usually sent back to school/daycare after treatment is started and after 48 hours of treatment it is no longer considered contagious.

How is it treated?  Usually topical antifungal cream will do but sometimes may require an oral antifungal, especially if it is on the scalp.