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."


Roberta writes, "I have a niece whose parents are separated. The child comes and visit on Fiday until Saturday evening. We were not aware that my niece was infected with ringworms until I gave her a bath and saw the skin rash on the side of tummy; which looked liked a ring. I, as well as my 8 year old daughter, has been sharing my food and drinks from the straw. I asked my brother, who is the dad what it was and he told me the mother said it was ringworms. I understand that it is contagious. Should I take myself and my daughter to the hospital to check ourselves? "

Answer: Ringworm is a fungus that is contagious. It is spread by direct contact (skin to skin). It is unlikely that sharing food or drink will spread ringworm, unless of course your niece scratched the affected skin first before touching tableware and sharing that!

It does not necessitate going to the hospital. It is an infection that is limited to the skin. It is not know to cause any major systemic problems, unless there is a history of immune deficiency or other similar illness.

You mentioned that your niece's mother said that it was ringworm. Is she on any treatment for it? If she is, 24 to 48 hours after the start of treatment, you are considered to be "under treatment" and potentially much less infective to others.

If your niece is not on any treatment, it would be a good idea to get some over the counter fungal cream, or if you don't feel comfortable with that, a visit to the pediatrician may be necessary.

As with any question relating to children, please don't hesitate to ask the child's pediatrician.


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.