What is ringworm?
It is a common fungus infection of the skin, scalp, nails, and feet. Symptoms include:
Ring-shaped, raised, and scaly around the border
may be pinkish or light-colored
may be itchy
Scalp lesions: pink, swollen patches that can lead to hair loss
Nails: discolored (white, yellow, or black), thickened, and cracking
Feet ("athlete's foot"): cracking of skin between toes
How does ringworm spread?
It spreads by:
Touching or scratching the sores on the skin or scalp
Sharing combs, brushes, hats, towels, clothes, and bedding Hugging cats and dogs
Walking barefoot in showers and pools
When is ringworm contagious?
As long as the rash or lesions are present. Not contagious after treatment.
After exposure, it can take four days to two weeks to develop symptoms.
How do I know if my child has ringworm?
If you see the symptoms, see your doctor. Ringworm is diagnosed by the symptoms, exam with a special light, cultures, microscopic exam of skin/scalp scrapings.
What should I do if my child has ringworm?
Treatment: Follow the treatment prescribed by your doctor:
For skin and feet infections: anti-fungal cream, powder, or lotion.
For infections of the scalp and nails: oral medication for at least one to two months.
For feet infections: keep clean and dry.
Should my child stay home?
The child can return to school after treatment is started. Notify your Head Start program.
To limit the spread:
Check other children, adults, and pets at home and at school. Get medical/veterinary evaluation and treatment if needed.
For ringworm of the scalp, clean and disinfect combs and brushes.
For fungal infection of the feet, clean and disinfect showers and baths.
Keep lesions covered if possible.
Wash hands after contact with the lesions.
Do not share combs, brushes, clothes, towels, or bedding. Separate personal clothes and bedding in individual cubbies for each child.
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