How Long Are Ringworm Infections Contagious?

Characterized by the recognizable ring-shaped rash, ringworm infections are very contagious and quite easily transmitted from one person to another. They are often spread from animals to humans, but they can often be spread from humans to humans as well. But, while they are certainly not very dangerous or concerning, it can be hard to gauge just how much time it takes for them to clear up and how long they can be transmitted.

So, how long are ringworm infections contagious?

How They Spread

As we mentioned before, ringworm is often spread from animals (especially cats) to humans. In case a human has it, ringworm can spread both through direct and indirect skin contact. Indirect contact includes sharing razors, towels, hairbrushes, hats, and clothes with the infected person.

The Incubation Period

For these infections the incubation period lasts for between one and two weeks. During this period, the infection is already contagious, even if you can’t see any symptoms. This is because the fungal spores are already present in the incubation period before the outbreak.

Additionally, some people and animals don’t have any symptoms of ringworm even if they’re infected. In animals, these infections can be exposed with ultraviolet light.

How Long can They Be Transmitted?

Ringworm infections are contagious as long as fungal spores keep living on your skin. This means that the infections are still contagious when you start using medication. However, if you cover the infected areas when you start your treatment, you can reduce the risk of spreading the infection significantly.

With proper medication, ringworm infections can go away within four weeks.


So, how long are ringworm infections contagious? Since the fungal spores are responsible for the spread of the infection, ringworm is contagious as long as you have them on your skin. This is usually a month or two, although the spores can live up to 20 months in certain conditions.

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