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Ringworm Versus Roundworm

author image Sarah Terry
Sarah Terry brings over 10 years of experience writing novels, business-to-business newsletters and a plethora of how-to articles. Terry has written articles and publications for a wide range of markets and subject matters, including Medicine & Health, Eli Financial, Dartnell Publications and Eli Journals.
Ringworm Versus Roundworm
Man with athlete's foot Photo Credit nebari/iStock/Getty Images

You can contract ringworm and roundworms from a variety of sources. Roundworms are parasitic organisms, while ringworm is a fungal skin infection. The symptoms, causes and treatments for the infections are different, despite their similar names. If you think you have a ringworm or roundworm infection, consult your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.


Roundworms are parasitic organisms that invade your intestines and can cause a variety of negative health effects, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Ringworm is a microscopic fungus that infects the outer layer of your skin. You can get ringworm from contact with infected animals, people or objects, while you get roundworm from drinking water or eating foods containing the parasites. Although ringworm infections are rarely life-threatening, roundworms can be fatal if left untreated, according to the University of Michigan Health System.


There are many different types of ringworm infections that affect different parts of your body. Tinea capitis, or ringworm of the scalp, is one of the most common types, along with tinea pedis, commonly called “athlete’s foot,” according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Ringworm of the groin is also typical and commonly called “jock itch,” according to the Mayo Clinic. You also can contract ringworm of the hands, nails, face or whole body. Roundworms generally originate from the Ascaris lumbricoides species of parasites.


Roundworm infections can cause a wide variety of gastrointestinal symptoms like gas, diarrhea, bloody stools, anal itching and stomach pain, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. You also could experience weight loss, fever, rash, constipation and nausea or vomiting. Ringworm infections can cause red, itchy rashes that occur in a ring-like shape, and dry, scaly or thickened areas of the skin, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Scalp ringworm can cause patches of hair loss, while tinea unguium can cause yellow, thickened and weakened toenails and fingernails. Visit your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.


Ringworm infections of the scalp are sometimes treated using oral medications like griseofulvin or terbinafine, according to the Mayo Clinic. You also can use oral medications to treat nail ringworm. If you have other types of ringworm on your skin or body, you might use antifungal creams or powders as topical medications, including miconazole, tolnaflate or undeclyenic acid, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Roundworm infections, on the other hand, are typically treated with only oral medications such as albendazole, mebendazole and pyrantel pamoate. For severe roundworm infections that obstruct your intestines, you might need surgery or endoscopy.

Risk Factors/Prevention

Young children are typically at a higher risk of contracting ringworm or roundworm infections than are adults. International travel or living in a developing nation, as well as drinking and eating unclean or ill-prepared water and food, can increase your chances of a roundworm infection, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. To prevent roundworm infections, wash your hands after using the bathroom and before preparing food, don’t drink water from unsanitary sources, and only eat foods prepared in sanitary conditions. You can reduce your risk of contracting ringworm by avoiding contact with infected pets, people and objects, wearing sandals or shoes in locker rooms, and keeping all your body areas as clean and dry as possible. If your pet has ringworm, take it to a veterinarian to treat the infection and prevent the spread of ringworm to people, according to the University of Michigan Health System.

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