Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."


Daniel writes, "I would like to know if ringworm can be a phyically damaging fungi."

Answer: Ringworm is caused by a fungus not a worm as the name implies. The fungus is an organism that is found in many places, including soil, animals and humans. They thrive in warm moist places and multiply if not treated. The technical term for ringworm is Tinea Corporis. Tinea comes from the Greek word meaning "Moth." Corporis is also Greek and means "body."

Genetic predisposition or any acquired immune problem may explain why someone will get ringworm and others with similar exposure will not. Eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions may mimic ringworm. A sampling or scraping of the actual lesion will usually lead to a diagnosis. Treatment can then be started.

In children, the typical round lesion (ring) is common in the summer and warms months. Many times an antifungal cream or lotion is used without a scraping or biopsy. This is because it may take many weeks to actually grow on the lab. By that time, it could have been already treated.

As far as being physically damaging, the ringworm, unless left untreated for any length of time will usually not cause major disfigurement. As with any damage (including a simple cut) to the skin, there will always be some sort of residual. Healing is different on everyone. As a rule, a simple ringworm lesion should cause no internal physical effects. It is a dermatophyte and because of it's nature, is usually confined to the skin.

Consult with your doctor if you have any concerns or questions.

Also see:

  • Does Strep Throat lead to Scarlet's Fever?
  • Can a pediatrician comfortably prescribe and manage ADHD medication or is it better suited to a psychiatrist?
  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.