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How Long Does It Take For Ringworm To Go Away & How to Prevent the Ringworm From Spreading?

Ringworm may be present in mind with the image of nasty worms crawling and growing on your skin, but it involves absolutely no worms or anything else creepy. It’s a minor skin infection caused by fungus on several body parts and clears up quickly after proper prevention and treatment by using fungal medication.(1)

In the following article, the time for an infection to be caused by Ringworm is discussed, followed by how long it may take the same to go away. In the subsequent sections, you will find the highlights on measures that should be taken to prevent the spreading of ringworm infection. Lastly, the first line of treatments for the ringworm condition is discussed.

What is Ringworm?

It is a common contagious fungal infection known as ringworm because it causes an itchy, red, circular rash with clearer skin in the middle and grows in a moist and warm environment.

Ringworm is also called “tinea corporis” or “dermatophytosis.” It mainly affects the scalp (tinea capitis), hands (tinea manuum), nails (tinea unguium), beard (tinea barbae), athlete’s foot (tinea pedis), Jock itch (tinea cruris), and several other areas of body parts such as arms or legs(tinea corporis).

The fungal spores can live on fabrics, hats and brushes, couch cushions, bedding, and other living and non-living items. People who use public showers or locker rooms usually, athletes who play and are involved in contact sports such as wrestling, people who come in close contact with animals, and people who wear tight shoes and have excessive sweating, are more likely to develop fungal infection resulting in ringworm.
Every person is at risk of getting ringworm, but kids are more susceptible and at greater risk, before they hit puberty. Boys seem to be at higher risk than girls.(2)(3)(4)(6)(7)(1)

How Long Does Ringworm Take To Spread?

How Long Does Ringworm Take To Spread?

As these fungal spores are dormant initially and present before you see the ringworm outbreak, thereby you can get infected from someone even before ringworms appear on the skin or affected area or you start using OTC and prescription based antifungal medications.

However, if you cover the affected area or lesions, you can decrease the risk of spreading to the person you may encounter after treatment.

This fungal infection lasts in humans for usually 1 to 2 weeks.

The ringworm infection exists as long as spores are not eliminated from your skin. A person needs to use medication till all the fungal spores are killed as they stay alive on clothing, bedding, and elsewhere and require a moist and warm environment to grow. Fungal spores can live for 12 to 20 months in the right environment.(5)

How Long Does The Ringworm Take To Go Away?

The incubation period for fungal infection in humans is one to two weeks before a person starts seeing the red rashes. Ringworm of the scalp(tinea capitis) takes up to two weeks after fungal infection to show symptoms.(5)

As per the report of Seattle Children’s Hospital, Tinea corporis does not spread after 48 hours of treatment. While undergoing treatment, an infected person can cover the lesion to stop spreading infection by coming in contact with healthy people or inanimate objects in the surroundings.

Animals like dogs or cats that receive long term treatment for ringworm can spread it for about three weeks. If the treatment is inconsistent, it can be contagious for longer.(9)

If left untreated, ringworm can last more than months. With antifungal medication, the affected area usually starts healing but takes a week or two. Treatment generally continues for a total of two to four weeks of medicine, based on the severity. You must continue treatment for at least one week after the rash disappears. The extended medication ensures the fungus is gone.(1)

How Can You Prevent The Spreading Of Ringworm?

Maintaining good general and personal hygiene should be prioritized, which is the best preventive measure against ringworm. There are following other preventative measures to avoid spreading of it are listed below:

Preventing Contagion Between Humans

An infected spread the infection to other parts of their body and other people when they come in close contact. A person should take the following precautions:

  • Always wash and keep your skin clean and dry
  • Do not touch or scratch the ringworm lesions
  • If you have felt or scratched the lesions, wash hands immediately
  • Wash all the items like clothes, bedding, and towels in hot, soapy water after use
  • If you’re a sports person, shower immediately after your practice session

People who have ringworm infection in feet(athlete’s foot) should take the following precautions:

  • Do not leave worn socks lying around
  • Use disinfectant like an ultraviolet shoe sanitizer or ozone cabinet to disinfect shoes
  • Do not walk barefoot in the home, locker room, or public places
  • Fingernails and toenails should not be kept long and must be clean and short

People who have ringworm should not share their items or belongings like:

  • bedding
  • towels
  • clothing and accessories
  • hairbrushes
  • Makeup
  • Sports gear

Preventing Contagion From Pets to Humans

If a pet has ringworm, a person can avoid the spreading of infection by:

  • Visit veterinary for the treatment of the pet
  • Always clean, vacuum, and disinfect the areas where pets spend most of the time
  • Do wear gloves and long sleeves clothes while handling the pet
  • Do wash your hands with soap and water after touching or handling the pet(7)(10)

Treatment for Ringworm:

The Ringworm can be treated based on its location on the body and severity of the infection

It is treated by OTC(Over the counter) and prescription medication counting on the mycosis inflicting tinea.

Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) and ringworm (tinea cruris) treated with non-prescription antifungal medication applied to the skin for (2 to four weeks ) which are:

  • Clotrimazole (Lotrimin, Mycelex)
  • Miconazole (Azolen, Baza Antifungal, Carrington Antifungal, Aloe Vesta Antifungal, Critic Aid Clear, DermaFungal, Desenex, plant Tincture, Micaderm, Miranel, Mitrazol, Podactin, Cruex Prescription Strength, Remedy Antifungal, Micatin, Micro-Guard, Secura Antifungal)
  • Terbinafine (Lamisil)
  • Ketoconazole (Xolegel)

For non-prescription medication, always read the directions on the package label. Contact your physician if your infection doesn’t get away or gets worse.

Ringworm on the scalp (tinea capitis) treated with prescription antifungal medication taken orally for one to three months. Creams, lotions, or powders don’t work for tinea on the scalp.

Prescription antifungal medications accustomed to treat tinea on the scalp include:

  • Griseofulvin (Grifulvin V, Gris-PEG)
  • Terbinafine
  • Itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox)
  • Fluconazole (Diflucan)

Tinea corporis and tinea cruris can also be treated with OTC antifungal products. People infected with fungi developing tinea cruris must always keep the groin area washed, clean and dry, and wear cotton underwear. Persons may require systemic antifungal therapy on extensive or recurrent infections.

You should contact your physician if:

  • The infection gets severe or worse or doesn’t go away after taking non-prescription medications.
  • Ringworm on the scalp needs to be always treated with prescription antifungal medication.
  • A person who has eczema and other skin related problems are at higher risk for ringworm infection.(8)(10)


Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection that looks like a circular rash, itchy, and red on the skin. Different fungal species develop the ringworm on various body parts and are treated according to infection location and based on severity. It usually spreads in close contact with the infected person and stays for 1-2 weeks. Don’t come in close contact with the infected person even if they are on medication till treated completely.

Prioritize the hygienic condition and always clean and dry your skin (scalp, groin, fingernails, and toenails). Always wear clean and washed clothes to eliminate the fungal spores and avoid developing ringworm. It does not matter where ringworm developed on body parts; treatment is a must as it grows slowly and covers a larger area of the body and greater risk of spreading the ringworm. Take medications after consulting with physicians or dermatologists as it may get worse on being untreated. Ringworm can be treated and prevented from spreading if an individual maintains proper hygiene and takes care of health using medications to treat before it gets worse.


Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 4, 2020

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