What is ringworm*? I’ll tell you what ringworm is. It’s the reason my kid has been home for the last four days and the reason your kid came home with a note only slightly less better than the lice note.

Thankfully we are not the lice family but ringworm is a very close second.

What is ringworm?

Until a week and a half ago I was merrily living my life never having Googled “What is ringworm” and “images of ringworm”. Life may not have been easy but it was less complicated before the dreaded ringworm made its way into my lexicon.

It all started a few weeks ago when I noticed a little red mark on my daughter’s wrist. She had a small, red circle on the top of her wrist and while she said it didn’t hurt, itch or otherwise bother her it tickled the back of my brain.

You know that feeling you get when you know something but can’t for the life of you remember what it is? I had that feeling about her rash but it wasn’t coming to me. I knew there was something familiar about the circular pattern on the top of her wrist but having had Lyme’s disease twice now and knowing full well that her rash was not the bullseye so common with Lyme’s disease I ignored that nagging part of my brain that said I should be paying attention.

One week later the ex and I took the daughter to the pool to try out for placement in swimming lessons. There, dressed in a Hello Kitty bathing suit that was a tad too small for her was not one circle rash but two. Now, the daughter was sporting one on her neck as well as her wrist, which was now much bigger.

The ex said it looked like ringworm to him. Me, knowing so much more than he could ever hope to know, blew off that crazy idea because our daughter does not have worms. Surely it must be something else. The ex husband, knowing it isn’t wise to argue with me, didn’t.

Does ring worm mean you have worms?

Yes, I thought having ringworm meant having worms. When we found our beloved Reuben I brought him to the vet to get de-wormed and was surprised when he pooped out spaghetti when I knew he hadn’t eaten any. I knew that our daughter did not have worms.

Until that nagging voice in my head kept itching at me. It was saying something like “you know, he has been right before” and “he isn’t always wrong” so I asked Google what the heck was on her wrist by searching for the term “what does ringworm look like”.

It’s not pretty.

After being diagnosed by Dr. Google I called the doctor to schedule an appointment. I didn’t think we really needed one, I knew what it was now, but I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to nab a prescription simply on Google’s say so. The doctor took one look at my daughter’s wrist and neck and prescribed me gobs of cream because apparently ringworm takes a long time to go the fuck away.

School and the note about ringworm

The St. Paul Public Schools don’t like ringworm (can you blame them) and they insists that the horrible skin affliction be covered – securely- at all times on school property. It is also their mission to make sure the afflicted child is reminded to wash their hands every five minutes. The child doesn’t need to get The Note that is passed out during class, the one meant to warn but that really scares the other parents that their children have been exposed to a dreaded disease and now it is too late to prevent the passing of said disease so really all that is left to do is panic and wash everything in the home that has every been touched – rash or not.

Yes, we are the family with the ringworm. I don’t know where it came from but I have been told to check the animals for it (none of them have any rash that I can see). She is not the only child in the school with ringworm, there is another one in a higher grade whom she does not know. How she got ringworm, I don’t know. All I know is, it’s not lice.

*The term ringworm or ringwormsrefers to fungal infections that are on the surface of the skin. The name is derived from the early belief that the infection was due to a worm, which it is not. Ringworm is a fungal infection in the skin. Nevertheless, the name ringworm remains. Some of these fungi produce round spots on the skin, but many do not. On the other hand, many round, red spots on the skin are not due to a fungal infection.  – Medicine.net

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