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Ringworm - What will happen to me?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Ringworm can be cured with treatment. But without treatment, the infection can last a long time.

Ringworm doesn't usually go away on its own.[6] Although ringworm is unlikely to cause serious health problems, if it's not treated, the infection could spread to other people. It's also possible for the rash to get infected with bacteria, especially if you scratch hard enough to break the skin. Scratching can also spread ringworm from one part of your body to another.

If you have ringworm on your body or groin, you may be able to treat yourself with creams you can buy from a pharmacy. But if the rash doesn't improve after using a cream for a week or two, see your doctor. See your doctor sooner if your rash is particularly severe or uncomfortable.

Severe ringworm, or ringworm that affects the scalp or beard, needs treating with tablets.[8] Scalp ringworm is especially common in children. It's important that your child gets treatment, as severe scalp ringworm can cause scars. A scar can leave a patch on your child’s scalp where the hair doesn't grow back.[6]

Although ringworm can be spread from person to person, it's not usually recommended that children stay off school once they've started treatment.[2] Children will often have had ringworm for a while before anyone notices. So, by the time a child is diagnosed, it's probably too late to be worth keeping them off school.

Some doctors recommend an antifungal shampoo to help reduce the chances of passing on scalp ringworm to other children. Plasters can be used to cover small patches of ringworm on the body, which might help stop it spreading to other people.



Bacteria are tiny organisms. There are lots of different types. Some are harmful and can cause disease. But some bacteria live in your body without causing any harm.

For more terms related to Ringworm


For references related to Ringworm click here.
Last Updated: January 19, 2011
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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