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How Long Is Ringworm Contagious?

About Ringworm:

Ringworm is quite a common fungal infection that causes skin lesions in the shape of a ring. The characteristics of these skin lesions are that they are extremely itchy and erythematous. They generally develop in the scalp, torso, and the extremities. It is an extremely contagious condition and spreads through direct contact.[1]

Ringworm may remain contagious even after beginning treatment for the condition.[1] How long does ringworm infection remains contagious is what has been explained in the article below. Also are given some tips to prevent contracting ringworm Infection.

How Long Is Ringworm Contagious?

How Long Is Ringworm Contagious?

As stated, Ringworm is extremely contagious. It can spread from direct human contact or through contact from an infected pet to humans. The ringworms remain contagious for as long as their spores are alive. These spores can live for as long as two years. This is the reason why it is important to get disinfected as soon as an individual gets in contact with an infected person or animal. Even if the person comes in contact with any clothing or bedding occupied or worn by an infected individual then also disinfection is required.[1]

The physicians at the Seattle Children Hospital state that ringworm remains contagious for at least 48 hours after the treatment commences post which its contagiousness decreases. Once treatment starts, it is important for the patient to cover the lesions properly to prevent it from spreading. In cases of pets, the ringworm infection remains contagious for about three weeks after treatment starts. If the treatment given to the pet is mild in nature then the infection remains contagious for a much longer time.[1]

The primary mode of transmission of a ringworm infection is through direct contact with the infected skin or spores. These spores thrive on fabrics, clothing, and beddings. The spores love a damp environment and thus are most active in the washrooms and other damp areas of the house. A person with a ringworm infection should avoid touching the lower extremities or the groin area as it can lead to the spread of the infection in these areas.[1]

It should be noted here that if a person gets ringworm infection from an animal then he or she cannot pass the infection to another human. This type of fungal infection only passes from an animal to human. It is as important to prevent a ringworm infection as it is important to keep it from spreading. Once a person knows that he or she has ringworm infection then the common practices to be followed include.[1]

  • Avoiding scratching or touching the lesion
  • Washing hands with soap and water after treating a ringworm lesion
  • Washing infected clothes and bedding with warm water
  • Never sharing any towels, beds, clothes, and other accessories like a razor with anyone

In conclusion, ringworm is a common fungal infection which causes ring like lesions on the skin surface mostly around the groin and the extremities. It is an extremely contagious infection. The contagiousness of the infection starts decreasing within 48 hours after start of treatment. In cases of ringworms in pets, they remain contagious for about three weeks after start of treatment.[1]

However, the spores of the fungus remains active for up to two years and if during this period someone comes in contact with these spores then he or she is likely to get infected with ringworm infection. As a treatment option, there are a variety of antifungal creams. In cases of severe infections, oral antifungals may have to be prescribed.[1]


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 8, 2020

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