Ringworm

Ringworm

Ringworm is a flat, ring-shaped infection. See your doctor if the ringworm is on your child's scalp as this needs to be treated with medicine.

Key points to remember

  • Thumbnail image of pamphletringworm is a flat, ring-shaped infection
  • ringworm on the scalp can cause round, painful red patches and make hair fall out - see your doctor if this happens
  • go to the doctor if your child has a fever or their skin becomes swollen, warm or is leaking fluid
  • ringworm spreads by contact with infected skin, clothes, personal items or surfaces

What to do

  • check and clean skin everyday
  • see your doctor if the ringworm is on your child's scalp as this needs to be treated with medicine
  • for ringworm on other parts of the body a public health nurse, pharmacist or doctor can show you which cream to use to kill the infection
  • go to the doctor if your child has a fever or their skin becomes swollen, warm or is leaking fluid
  • check other children for ringworm
  • treat any animals or pets with ringworm

What to do if ringworm gets worse

Go to the doctor if any of these things happen:

  • the infection lasts more than 2 weeks
  • the ringworm is on the scalp
  • skin becomes red and swollen
  • there is some pus in the infection
  • your child has a fever

Your child may need antibiotics. It is important to take the antibiotics each day until they are finished, even if the skin has got better. The antibiotics need to keep killing the infection in the body after the skin has healed.

How is ringworm spread?

Contact with infected skin, clothes, personal items or surfaces.

Time off from kura or school

Your child can go to school or childcare but they should avoid skin contact with other children until the ringworm goes away. 

Source: Workbase and Ministry of Health printout (PDF, 524KB)

This page last reviewed 18 August 2016.
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