Effective remedies for ringworm include appropriate self-care, the separation and cleaning of personal care items, and the use of over-the-counter skin ointments and creams. If necessary, prescription anti-fungal medications should also be used. In most cases, basic remedies for ringworm should clear up the condition in about four weeks. Infection caused by skin damage owing to ringworm may require more aggressive treatment, including antibiotics.
Ringworm is a skin rash caused by the spread of a contagious fungus, not by worms. The condition can cause raised welts on the skin that may resemble rings, though it may develop in other ways. The rash can make the skin very dry and cause itching and irritation. If it spreads to the scalp or to a man's beard, hair loss may occur. If ringworm spreads to a sufferer's fingernails, the nails may begin to thicken, discolor, or deteriorate. As a fungus, ringworm most easily spreads and grows in warm, moist areas, such as in skin folds. Some use the term jock itch to describe ringworm that develops in the groin.
Many people find that their ringworm responds well to self-treatment, though it may be a good idea to see a doctor in order to confirm that ringworm is indeed the problem. In addition to keeping affected areas clean and dry, sufferers can use recommended anti-fungal treatment creams available at the drugstore. These creams should be used according to package directions or as long as a doctor advises their use to make sure that the fungus is killed. As ringworm is contagious, it is important to wash clothing, towels, and bedsheets on a daily basis to keep from recontaminating oneself. Household pets, and especially cats, should also be evaluated and, if necessary, treated for ringworm, as the condition can pass between pets and humans. Combs, brushes, and other personal care items should not be shared between ringworm sufferers and others.
If the standard remedies for ringworm do not prove effective after about a month, sufferers should see their doctor about further treatment. Anti-fungal medications can be used as remedies for ringworm and may be prescribed as pills or as topical treatments. In cases where a sufferer has scratched the affected area, the skin may break, and there is a risk of infection. If the skin becomes infected, a doctor may have to prescribe antibiotics as well as anti-fungal treatments in order to both stop the ringworm and prevent further problems caused by infection.