Preventing ringworm spreading 

If you or someone in your family has ringworm, following the advice outlined below will help stop the infection spreading.

To contract ringworm it is not necessary to have direct contact with an infected person or animal. This is because the fungi is able to survive on items such as furniture, hairbrushes, clothing and towels.

Therefore, if someone in your household has ringworm you should:

  • avoid sharing personal items, such as combs, hairbrushes, towels, clothing and bed linen
  • wash bed linen, pillow cases and towels on a hot cycle using a normal detergent
  • wash clothing separately from bed linen, following the clothing manufacturer's instructions regarding temperature
  • wash different people's bedding and clothing separately 
  • ensure every member of your household washes their hands frequently
  • ensure anyone infected with scalp ringworm uses an antifungal shampoo twice a week
  • avoid scratching the affected areas of your skin or scalp because it could spread the infection to other parts of your body

It is important other household members check themselves for signs of infection. If necessary, they should seek treatment.

If you suspect your pet is the source of the infection, take them to your vet for treatment. Patches of missing fur are a sign an animal has ringworm.

If someone in your family has ringworm, there is no need for them to stay off work or school. However, treatment should be started as soon as possible. Good personal hygiene should also be followed to stop it spreading to other children.

Find out more about how to treat ringworm.

Page last reviewed: 14/03/2013

Next review due: 14/03/2015