Q: My four-year-old daughter caught ringworm at our community swimming pool. Is there anything we could have done to prevent this?
A: Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a fungus. The rash typically looks ring-shaped and has a raised edge. It is flaky and quite itchy; if the scalp is infected, there is often a bald spot where the rash forms. Yes, it’s contagious, spread by touching an infected area on another person or by sharing combs and brushes.
Treatment depends on whether the infection is on the skin or scalp, and you should see your doctor for a prescription. Kids should stay home from school or daycare and avoid sharing towels with other family members until after treatment has started.
Now to answer your question about prevention: Remind your daughter to wash her hands frequently and have a shower soon after swimming. It may also help to wear flip-flops or water shoes on the pool deck. Keep in mind, though, that being active and social is important for your daughter’s development. The small risk of a very minor infection, such as ringworm, is far outweighed by the benefits of her enjoyment at the pool.