What is hand ringworm?

ringworm is a skin infection usually caused by the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot. Also known as ringworm, this infection is contagious and can spread to different parts of the body.

This article will explore the types of ringworm infections, what causes them, who is at risk, and what to do if you get one of these infections.

Types of Ringworm

Ringworm is the name given to a group of infections caused by fungi, the most common being ringworm. More than one type of ringworm — in fact, there are more than 40 types of fungi that can cause these infections. They can include fungi of the genus:

  • Trichophyton
  • Microsporum
  • Epidermophyton

Ringworm infections can go by many names, and in most cases the names are based on the part of the body affected. Manuum refers to an infection that occurs on the hands.

  • Tinea barba: affects the beard
  • Tinea capitis: affects the scalp
  • Tinea corporis: affects other parts of the body, such as the arms or legs
  • Tinea cruris: affects the groin, inner thighs, and buttocks (tinea cruris)
  • Tinea pedis: affects the hands
  • Tinea pedis: affects the feet (athletes’ feet)
  • Onychomycosis: affects the toenails or fingernails (onychomycosis)

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Ringworm symptoms

Symptoms of ringworm infection can vary depending on the part of the body, but they all share the same general characteristics.

Symptoms of ringworm of the hand often include:

  • itchy skin
  • rash
  • red, scaly, or cracked skin
  • hair loss

These symptoms usually appear 4 to 14 days after exposure to the fungus that can cause ringworm infection.

How to recognize 4 common rashes


While fungi are the exact cause of ringworm infections, you may wonder how you came into contact with these microbes in the first place. Ringworm infections are contagious, so if you have ringworm anywhere else on your body and touch it, you could get ringworm on your hands.

The mold-like fungi that cause ringworm are called dermatophytes, and they thrive in warm, humid environments. You may be most at risk of developing a ringworm infection if:

  • Your skin is damp for a long time.
  • You have minor skin or nail damage.
  • You don’t bathe or wash your skin and hair enough.
  • You have close skin-to-skin contact with other people.
  • You have been in contact with animals, especially cats.

You can also get ringworm from surfaces such as shower floors and walls, swimming pools, and shared clothing.

Causes and Risk Factors of Ringworm


If you’ve had a fungal skin infection in the past, you may recognize it when you develop ringworm. If you see a health care provider, they may ask you questions about your medical history, the medications you take, and your skin care habits before making a diagnosis.

In some cases, the diagnosis can be made with a basic visual examination, but your healthcare provider may also scrape a thin slice of skin from your rash for testing under a microscope.

Some signs that can differentiate hand ringworm from other skin infections include:

  • There is a raised border around the rash.
  • Rashes are just one aspect.
  • If the rash appears on both hands, the rash is different on each hand.
  • Nails may also be affected.

How to Diagnose Ringworm


Keeping the skin clean and dry and trying not to allow the infection to spread to other parts of the body is an important part of treating any ringworm infection. There are many over-the-counter products available for initial treatment. You’re looking for products that contain one or more of the following antifungal drugs:

  • Miconazole
  • Clotrimazole
  • Ketoconazole
  • Terbinafine
  • Oxiconazole
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If over-the-counter medications don’t clear the infection, your healthcare provider may prescribe a stronger formulation of one of these medications, or even a systemic (oral) version. It may take two to six weeks for the medication to clear a ringworm infection, although prescription-based medications tend to work faster.

Oral medications are often used for infections that occur in multiple parts of the body at the same time, such as one hand and both feet. Some medications that may be used systemically to treat ringworm infections include:

  • Grispeg, Fulvicin (Griseofulvin)
  • Ramici (Trinafin)
  • Sporonox (itraconazole)
  • Dafucon (fluconazole)

Tinea capitis, onychomycosis, and chronic tinea pedis are more difficult to clear with topical treatments alone.

How to Treat Ringworm


While ringworm infections can spread to other parts of the body, individual infections usually heal within about a month of starting. In rare cases, you may experience some complications from a ringworm infection, usually due to frequent scratching or other constant irritation. Serious skin infections or irritations may require treatment with other medications, such as antibiotics.


As your ringworm infection heals, you may find that anti-inflammatories or various home remedies can relieve symptoms.

There are many treatments that may or may not cure ringworm infections, but they can relieve symptoms. These include:

  • tea tree oil
  • Soak hands in vinegar and water solution
  • aloe vera
  • Garlic and olive oil applied to the skin
  • Neem Leaf Paste
  • coconut oil

Tips for Treating Fungal Infections

When using a topical antifungal treatment, how it is used is important. Take the steps below to get the most out of you.

  • Wash and dry the affected area before treatment.
  • Start on the outside of the rash and apply the cream or powder inward.
  • Wash hands and dry after applying.
  • Use topical treatments twice daily for at least 7 to 10 days.
  • Do not use bandages or dressings on the treated area.

You should also do the following to prevent the spread of an existing ringworm infection.

  • Wash towels, clothes and bedding in hot water and dry in the hottest setting you can.
  • Use new towels and washcloths with each bath until the infection goes away.
  • Clean sinks, tubs, and bathroom floors during infection treatment.
  • Wear new clothes every day.
  • Do not share clothes.
  • Shower after skin-to-skin contact or contact sports.

Fungal, bacterial and viral skin infections


Ringworm of the hand is often referred to as a ringworm infection. While these infections can occur throughout the body, manuum refers specifically to ringworm infections that occur on the hands. These infections are contagious, but can usually be cured within a few weeks with over-the-counter or prescription antifungal medications.

VigorTip words

A fungal rash can be itchy and irritating, but it doesn’t have to be serious. Meticulous skin care and keeping the area dry, along with treatment with antifungal creams or powders, can resolve these infections quickly. If the rash gets worse during treatment or does not go away in about a month, talk with your healthcare provider.