Ringworm: Who gets and causes
Who gets ringworm?
People around the world develop ringworm, and anyone can get it.
Your risk of getting ringworm increases if you:
Live in a tropical area
Spend time in hot, humid weather
Wrestle, play football, or participate in another contact sport
Live in close contact with others, such as in military housing
Share towels, clothes, razors, and other things without disinfecting (razors) or washing (clothes and towels) them
Wear clothing that chafes your skin
Use a locker room or pool and don’t wash and dry your feet well before putting on shoes and socks
Having HIV does not increase your risk of getting ringworm
If you are HIV-positive and get ringworm, however, the ringworm can be more severe and difficult to get rid of.
Athletes tend to get ringworm because they often have sweaty bodies and may have close physical contact with other athletes. Two types of ringworm, athlete’s foot and jock itch, are especially common in athletes.
You don’t have to be an athlete, however, to get ringworm. Anyone who has damp or sweaty feet can get athlete’s foot. Sweating a lot in the groin area can lead to jock itch.
Head-to-head contact can spread scalp ringworm
Children get scalp ringworm, which is rare in adults. The other types of ringworm are more common in adults.
What causes ringworm?
Certain types of fungi (plural of fungus) cause ringworm. These fungi thrive where it’s warm and humid. Ringworm is common in tropical areas and during hot, humid summers. It flourishes in warm, moist locker rooms and indoor pools.
You can also get ringworm when the weather is cool because ringworm is extremely contagious.
It's possible to get ringworm from:
Having skin-to-skin contact with someone who has it
Petting an animal like a dog, cat, or farm animal infected with ringworm
Touching soil infected with ringworm
Using an infected object like a phone, comb, or towel
The fungi that cause ringworm can live on any infected object, including clothing, brushes, and sports equipment for a long time.
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