What is a Ringworm?

Video Transcript:

Here’s another daily tip from your friendly local dermatologist.

All right, so a lot of times in medicine we have some pretty silly names All right, let’s be honest. All the time in medicine we have some pretty silly names for disease conditions. It’s our medical jargon, and I apologize for it.

One of the terms that isn’t particularly helpful is ringworm. So what is ringworm? Because you think about it, and you think, “Oh my gosh, it’s a worm that’s crawling in my skin!” And when most people use that term, they’re talking actually about just a fungus, and it’s called tinea. I know, another medical word, but it’s a fungus that’s growing on your skin. And oftentimes, it looks like a ring or a circle, and that’s why we call it ringworm. There’s not a worm there. It’s fungus.

Now you get ringworm, not from being dirty, guys, although being super dirty doesn’t help anything, but you get it just by contact. So someone else has it, and then you shake their hand, or some sort of physical contact, and that’s how ringworm is spread.

Now to get rid of it there’s some great over-the-counter products. I personally recommend Lotrimin Ultra, and if you put it on the ringworm or the little circle that has red around it, and usually some central clearing, and you do that every day for about six weeks, it should go away. If it doesn’t, you need to have it looked at by a provider, because chances are it is not ringworm. Because if you treat it for ringworm and it doesn’t go away, then it’s probably not. And if you treat it, and it goes away, then it probably was.

But please use it for six weeks. You know fungus, which is the main component that causes ringworm, fungus takes a long time to grow. Therefore it takes a long time to kill. And if you just put it on for you know, a week, and it mostly goes away, it’s just gonna come right back. So once or twice a day with Lotrimin Ultra, for about six weeks should take care of it. If not, please see a provider so you can figure out what else is going on.

Dr. Reagan Anderson is a local dermatologist from Colorado Springs.