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HealthTip: Ringworm Is Not a Worm

It's a highly contagious fungus

(HealthDayNews) -- Tinea is a fungus that can grow on your skin, hair or nails. As it grows, it spreads out in a circle, leaving normal-looking skin in the middle. At the edge of the ring, the skin is lifted up by the irritation and looks red and scaly.

According to familydoctor.org., this makes it look like a ring. Because of the way it looks, tinea infection is often called "ringworm."

You can get this fungal infection by touching a person who has one, or from damp surfaces, like the floors in public showers or locker rooms, or from your pets.

To find out what is causing your rash, your doctor may scrape some irritated skin onto a glass slide or clip off a piece of nail or hair and look at the sample under a microscope. Sometimes a piece of your skin, hair or nail will be sent to a lab to grow the fungus in a test tube.

Once your doctor decides that you have a tinea infection, medicine can be used to get rid of it. You may only need to put a special cream on the rash for a few weeks.

Sometimes, with stubborn cases, you have to take medicine orally, and this can last for months.

Consumer News