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How Do You Catch Ringworm?

Ringworm Basics

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Updated July 16, 2014

Two girls playing in backyard
Camille Tokerud Photography Inc./Iconica/Getty Images
Ringworm is common in children, and although parents are quick to blame their pets for giving their kids this rash, the family dog or cat isn't always to blame.

So how do kids get ringworm?

Often, it is like many other infections they get and they simply get it from other kids at daycare or school or even from infected family members.

There are types of ringworm fungi that do infect pets and wild animals though, and although it is likely a rare source of infection for children, there are some that are even found in the soil, so there are many different sources for a child's ringworm infection.

You can even get ringworm by having contact with objects that have had contact with an infected person or pet, such as a brush, towel, or hat.

If your child has ringworm and you have a pet, especially a kitten or a puppy, then you should likely check your pet for a rash, or contact your veterinarian to make sure your pet isn't infected and the source of your child's infection. This can be important so that your child doesn't get reinfected over and over.

Finding the source of the ringworm infection also becomes more important if your child's ringworm keeps coming back.

And although ringworm is contagious, your child doesn't usually have to stay home from school or daycare while he is being treated for ringworm. If you want to be extra careful that he doesn't infect anyone else, you could cover the ringworm for the first 48 hours of treatment, since it does usually require direct contact to spread the infection. After 48 hours, a ringworm is usually not contagious anymore.

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