Ringworm is an infection of the body arms or legs with a fungus, not a worm. Its name comes from the way it often causes a ring-shaped rash. Ringworm infections can affect different parts of your body.
This usually affects parts of your body that are exposed, such as your arms, legs or trunk, and it causes a red, scaly, ring-shaped rash. Ringworm can spread with close contact. You can catch it by touching somebody who already has ringworm, or by touching contaminated items, such as clothing or bedding. Farm animals such as cattle carry the fungi that cause ringworm, as well as pets like cats and dogs.
This is also called ‘jock itch’ and it’s more common in young men. This is because the scrotum and thigh are in close contact, which can create conditions in which fungi can thrive. It can also happen if you’re very overweight or often wear tight clothing. Ringworm can cause an itchy, red rash in your groin and around the top of your legs.
You’re most likely to get ringworm in your groin if you have other fungal skin infections of your hands, feet or nails. Like ringworm on your body, ringworm in your groin can spread with close contact and you can pass it on in the same way.
You can get this at any age, but it mostly affects children. Ringworm usually appears in patches on your scalp, which are scaly and may itch. In some people the patches become inflamed and red, with pustules forming. You may also develop a pus-filled area on your scalp, called a ‘kerion’. During the infection, it’s possible that your hair may fall out and leave bald areas, but it usually grows back once you treat the infection.
Viral infections are very common affecting the entire population. These include chicken pox, molluscum and cold sores.