Have you noticed an itchy rash, leaving circles on your child’s body? It could appear on their chest, stomach, arms, head, toes or anywhere in between. It could be the size of a dime or a dinner plate, depending on how much they’ve been scratching. The most distinctive feature is the ring-shaped rash, which is likely ringworm. Here’s what you need to know about ringworm on kids:
What is it?
Despite the gross name, a child with ringworm does not have a parasite in their skin. ringworm is actually a fungus. Infact, it’s the same fungus called athlete’s foot when on the feet, or jock itch when found on the groin and upper thighs.
How can they get it?
Ringworm is contagious and spread from person-to-person, as well as by many animals such as cats. It can even be picked up in the soil.
In addition to the ring-shaped pattern, some kids develop a low-grade fever with the fungus. If spread to the finger or toenails, the nails become thick and yellow. The scalp can also be infected with ringworm and will often develop an itchy, flakey patch. When just starting out, small, itchy bumps pop up and eventually spread to the ring pattern. Scratching can speed up the process by aggravating and spreading the fungus.
Antifungal creams are available for treatment at your common drugstore. Topical ointments work for lesser cases. If the fungus has spread dramatically or the topical creams don’t seem to be working after about a week, visit your doctor. Doctors can prescribe antifungal medication to help treat ringworm on kids. Treat right away to avoid spreading it to other family members or children at the childcare center or school.
Avoid ringworm by showering after sports or touching animals. Have the kids wear sandals in public restrooms and showers.
-“Ringworm” Teens Health: http://kidshealth.org/teen/infections/fungal/ringworm.html
-“No-Panic Guide to Kids’ Cooties” Parents.com: http://www.parents.com/health/bug-bites/no-panic-guide-to-kids-cooties/?page=5
-“Ringworm” Baby Center: http://www.babycenter.com/0_ringworm_10884.bc
-Photo courtesy of arztsamui/freedigitalphotos.net