Ask the Experts: Can My Child Catch Ringworm from the Sandbox?


Could ringworm be lurking in your child's play area? We asked Dr. Philip M. Tierno, Jr., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at NYU's Langone Medical Center and an expert on germs.

sandbox"It is theoretically possible, but not very likely," says Dr. Tierno. "It depends upon many factors. For example, sandboxes may be exposed to sunlight and UV light can actually kill the fungus. The sun heats up and dries out the sand, creating a hostile environment for the fungus. On the other hand, if the box is under a shady tree at an ambient temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit, conditions are moist, and a child with fungus has just sloughed off skin cells, a victim with abraded skin that contacts the fungus may contract ringworm. The point is: It is not very likely."

Ringworm is an infection caused by a fungus (not by a worm), and is usually treatable with over-the-counter antifungal cream or an antibiotic. If your child is being treated for ringworm, there is no need to keep him or her out of daycare.


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