What is ringworm?
Firstly, and fortunately, ringworm has nothing to do with worms. It’s more commonly known in Filipino as buni and medically as tinea corporis. Ringworm is a fungal infection of the top layer of your skin.1 It normally shows up as a red or silver rash that can be scaly, dry, swollen or itchy.2 The lesion caused by this infection looks like a worm in the shape of a ring, which is where its name comes from.1 The rings usually spread outwards as they progress, while the center may heal and go back to a normal color. It can appear anywhere on the body, including the scalp (tinea capitis), groin (jock itch) or foot (athlete’s foot). Ringworm on the face or scalp may lead to patchy hair loss.2
How Does it Spread?
Ringworm is contagious, and you can catch it through close contact with contaminated objects like bedsheets, combs or towels, an infected person, animals or – in rare cases – through infected soil.3 It can also be spread from, and to, different parts of your body. The infection is commonly spread among children, and it also occurs in people who own cats and dogs. Animals can catch ringworm and pass it to humans through touch.4
Who can get it?
The fungi responsible for ringworm can easily enter the top layer of your skin if it becomes soft and wet from prolonged water exposure, or if you have minor injuries or abrasions. You are also more at risk if you use public showers or swimming pools, as fungi thrive in moist and warm environments. You can also catch buni if you share hairbrushes or clothes with an infected person.