Our doctors can treat ringworm.

If you’re ready to get help now you can book an online GP appointment to discuss your skin with a doctor, or refer yourself to a specialist dermatologist using the links below.

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What is ringworm?

Ringworm is a common skin infection caused by fungi. It is called ringworm because it causes a circular, ring-like rash on the body. Despite the name, it is not caused by worms. 

Though contagious, ringworm is not usually a serious threat to your health and is easily treated with medication. 

Ringworm can affect anyone and appear on any part of the body. It often has a different name depending on the part of the body it affects. These include: 

  • tinea pedis or athletes’ foot (feet)
  •  tinea cruris or jock itch (groin, buttocks and other skin folds)
  • tinea capitis (scalp) 
  • tinea barbae (beard) 
  • tinea manuum (hands) 
  • tinea unguium or onychomycosis  (fingernails or toenails) 
  • tinea corporis (anywhere else on the body) 

It can take around 2 weeks from becoming infected with ringworm to develop symptoms. 

In the initial stage, you may notice a patch of skin that appears discoloured and scaly

During the second stage, the circular lesions get bigger. The lesions may appear as healthy skin in the centre, surrounded by a scaly area. 

Start treatment as early as possible after developing symptoms to avoid the lesions getting bigger and spreading to other parts of your body or infecting other people. 

Symptoms of ringworm include: 

  • an oval or circular rash on the body 
  • on light coloured skin the rash is usually red or pink
  • on darker skin, the rash may be brown or greyish silver
  • itchy skin
  • dry, cracked, scaly skin
  • hair loss

What causes ringworm?

Ringworm is very common and can be spread in one of four ways: 

  • from one person to another by direct skin contact 
  •  by sharing objects such as bedlinen, towels, and hairbrushes. 
  • by touching or stroking an infected animal
  • from infected soil

Ringworm can look similar to other skin conditions such as some types of eczema or psoriasis. If you are not sure whether your rash is caused by ringworm, speak to a doctor or pharmacist. Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to diagnose ringworm and recommend a suitable treatment. 

How to get rid of ringworm

Ringworm is normally treated with anti-fungal creams, tablets, or shampoos. Your GP or pharmacist can recommend a suitable treatment for you based on where on your body the infection is. 

If your skin is broken, you may develop a secondary bacterial infection which may need to be treated with antibiotics

Once treatment is started, your child can return to school or nursery. Tell their teacher they have ringworm.  

To prevent the spread of ringworm: 

  • start treatment as soon as possible to minimise the risk of infecting other people
  • do not scratch your rash. This may cause ringworm to spread to other parts of the body and may lead to infection
  • wash towels and bed linen regularly
  • don’t share towels with family members
  • avoid sharing items such as hairbrushes, towels, or bedlinen with someone who has ringworm
  • wash your hands after touching pets or soil 
  • take your pet to the vet straight away if they show signs of ringworm such as circular patches of hair loss
  • keep your skin clean and dry
  • don’t walk barefoot in public places such as swimming pools, locker rooms, or public showers 
  • keep your toenails and fingernails short and clean
  • change your socks and underwear every day
  • if someone in your household has ringworm, check your skin regularly for signs of the infection

See a doctor if: 

  • your ringworm has not improved after treatment
  • you have ringworm on your scalp
  • you have a weakened immune system due to a medical condition like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • you are taking medication that can suppress your immune system like steroids or chemotherapy

Get help from an online doctor

An online doctor can diagnose ringworm by asking you questions about your symptoms and examining your rash via video link. They can offer advice about managing your symptoms and preventing the spread of ringworm as well as recommend a suitable treatment. 

Making an online video appointment is quick and easy at Medicspot. Simply click the link, choose a time and day that suits you, and have your consultation via video link from your phone wherever you are.

Get help from a pharmacist

A pharmacist is a great place to start if you think you may have ringworm. Your pharmacist can take a look at your rash and recommend a suitable treatment. They can advise on how to take your medication, how to prevent the spread of ringworm, and when you may need to see a GP.


Ringworm is a common contagious fungal infection that causes a distinctive circular rash. If you have symptoms of ringworm, it’s important to get a diagnosis and start treatment right away to prevent spreading the infection to other people. If you think you or your child may have ringworm and would like to talk to a doctor, make an appointment today. 


NHS: Ringworm October 26th 2020 (Accessed November 4th 2022) 

PubMed: Tinea corporis: an updated review July 2020 (Accessed November 4th 2022)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Ringworm December 29th 2020  (Accessed November 4th 2022)

NHS: Inform: Ringworm and other fungal infections May 16th 2022 (Accessed November 4th 2022)

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