Ringworm Overview

Is Ringworm Contagious?

Ringworm is a prevalent fungal infection but you might not know just how contagious it is.. It's spread by direct contact, either by touching the skin of someone who's infected, by touching the fur of an animal that's infected, or by touching an object that's contaminated with the fungus. The good news is that ringworm generally doesn't last very long and you should be able to get rid of it within about four weeks [source: National Library of Medicine]. However, just because you've had ringworm once doesn't mean you are immune. Being exposed to ringworm again can cause another infection [source: Virginia Department of Health].

Anyone can get ringworm, even people who are otherwise healthy. Those at the highest risk include children, who are more prone to ringworm of the scalp, and athletes, wrestlers in particular. It won't take long for your ringworm to appear, either. Body ringworm usually shows up within about four to 10 days of exposure and ringworm on the scalp in about 10 to 14 days [source: Directors of Health Promotion and Education].

Ringworm is contagious enough that it can spread from one area of your body to another. For example, if you have athlete's foot, it's recommend that you put your socks on first when you get dressed. Ringworm is so contagious that if you put your underwear on first, you run the risk of spreading the infection in your feet to your groin area [source: MedicineNet].

Since the fungus is so common and widespread, locally and globally, you can't avoid it. But if you do get ringworm, you have several options for treating it. Check out the next page to learn about treatments.