Know the Risks and Guidelines: Is It Ok to Swim With Ringworm?

Marjan Sokolovski

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Swim With Ringworm

Ringworm, despite its misleading name, is a contagious fungal infection that affects the skin. If you’re dealing with ringworm or have had it in the past, you may wonder if is it OK to swim with Ringworm in a pool or enjoy a swim in natural water bodies. 

This blog post will provide you with essential insights into the question: Is it okay to swim with ringworm?

While swimming is a favorite summer activity, especially in public pools, the potential for spreading ringworms to others should not be underestimated. 

We’ll explore the factors to consider, including the severity of your infection, the effectiveness of chlorine in killing ringworm spores, and the rules and regulations at swimming facilities.

The risks and guidelines associated with swimming and ringworm are crucial to maintaining your health and preventing the spread of this contagious infection. 

Read on to make an informed decision about swimming while dealing with ringworm. So, stay sharp. 

What Is Ringworm?

Ringworm, despite its name, is not caused by worms but rather by a group of contagious fungal infections. It is characterized by red, circular, and often itchy rashes on the skin. 

The medical term for ringworm is dermatophytosis, and it can affect various parts of the body, including the scalp (tinea capitis), body (tinea corporis), groin area, feet, and nails (tinea unguium).

Ringworm is highly contagious and can spread through direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or animal, as well as through contaminated objects or surfaces. It thrives in warm, moist environments. 

Treatment typically involves antifungal creams or oral medications prescribed by a healthcare professional. 

Maintaining good hygiene and avoiding close contact with infected individuals or animals can help prevent its spread. Prompt treatment usually leads to a full recovery.

Is It OK to Swim With Ringworm?

Swim With Ringworm

So, you must be thinking about whether can you swim with a ringworm or not. Swimming with ringworm is generally not recommended for several reasons:

Risk of Spreading Infection

Ringworm is contagious, and the fungi responsible for the infection can be shed into the water. If you swim with an active ringworm infection, you can potentially spread it to others in the pool

Exacerbation of Symptoms

Chlorine in swimming pools can irritate the skin and worsen the symptoms of ringworm. The chemicals used in pool water may make the rash more uncomfortable and slow down the healing process.

Contaminating Pool Water

If you have ringworm, swimming in a pool can introduce the fungus into the water, posing a risk to other swimmers. This can lead to outbreaks and public health concerns.


Many public pools and recreational facilities have rules and regulations in place that prohibit individuals with contagious skin conditions like ringworm from entering the pool to prevent the spread of infections.

It is advisable to wait until your ringworm infection has completely healed, and you have received clearance from a healthcare professional before swimming in a pool.

Impact of Ringworm on Swimming

Can I swim with ringworm? If this is your question, you should learn about the impact of ringworm on swimming. Ringworm can have several impacts on swimming:

Exclusion from Public Pools

Many public swimming pools have strict hygiene and safety regulations that prohibit individuals with contagious skin conditions, including ringworm, from using the pool. 

This exclusion is in place to prevent the spread of the infection to others.

Risk of Spreading Infection

If someone with an active ringworm infection enters a pool, they can potentially shed the fungal spores into the water. This can contaminate the pool and expose other swimmers to the risk of infection.

Irritation and Discomfort

Chlorine and other pool chemicals can irritate the already affected skin, leading to increased discomfort and potentially worsening the symptoms of ringworm.

Delayed Healing

Prolonged exposure to pool water can slow down the healing process of ringworm. The moisture and chemicals in the pool water may not be conducive to the recovery of the affected skin.

Personal Embarrassment

For individuals with ringworm, the visible rash can be embarrassing. Avoiding swimming until the infection has cleared can help prevent social discomfort.

The impact of ringworm on swimming is significant, as it can lead to exclusion from pools, pose a risk of infection to others, worsen symptoms, delay healing, and cause personal discomfort.

Can You Get Ringworm From a Pool?

Can You Get Ringworm From a Pool

People who are aware of the irritation of a ringworm, often think about whether can ringworm spread in a pool or not. It is unlikely to get ringworm directly from swimming in a well-maintained chlorinated swimming pool. 

Ringworm is primarily transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or animal. 

Also, by coming into contact with contaminated objects and surfaces such as towels, clothing, or combs that have been used by someone with ringworm.

However, there are a few caveats to consider:

Contaminated Pool Water

While the chlorine and other chemicals in swimming pool water help to kill most bacteria and germs, they may not completely eliminate fungal spores that cause ringworm. 

If an individual with an active ringworm infection enters the pool and sheds infected skin cells, there is a small chance that the pool water could become contaminated with fungal spores.

Risk in Non-Chlorinated Water

In natural bodies of water, like lakes or rivers, where there is no chlorination, the risk of coming into contact with fungal spores or other infectious agents may be slightly higher. 

However, it’s still relatively rare to contract ringworm from swimming in such environments.

To minimize any potential risk, it’s a good practice to shower thoroughly before and after swimming, avoid sharing personal items like towels or swimwear, and refrain from swimming if you have an active ringworm infection.

Factors to Consider In the Case of Ringworm And Swimming

Ringworm And Swimming

When dealing with ringworm and considering swimming, several important factors need to be taken into account:

Severity of the Infection

The severity and location of the ringworm infection play a significant role. If the infection is mild, isolated, and not oozing fluids, it may be less of a concern compared to a more extensive or active infection.

Doctor’s Recommendation

Always consult with a healthcare professional, such as a dermatologist, for guidance. They can assess the specific case and provide recommendations based on the individual’s health status.

Pool Regulations

Check the rules and regulations of the swimming pool or aquatic facility you plan to visit. 

Many places have strict policies regarding individuals with contagious skin conditions like ringworm, and they may prohibit entry to prevent the spread of infection.

Personal Comfort

Consider your own comfort and confidence. If the visible rash or discomfort from ringworm makes you self-conscious or affects your ability to enjoy swimming, it may be best to wait until the infection has cleared.

Preventive Measures

If you do decide to swim with a resolved or healing ringworm infection, take precautions such as showering before and after swimming, and using your own towels and swimwear. 

Also, good personal hygiene to minimize the risk of spreading the infection.

Pool Hygiene

Inquire about the pool’s maintenance and water quality practices. Well-maintained chlorinated pools are generally safer in terms of preventing the spread of infections, but it’s always a good idea to be informed.

Healing Progress

Ensure that the ringworm infection is well on its way to healing and is no longer actively spreading or oozing. It should also no longer be contagious as per your healthcare provider’s assessment.

Consideration for Others

Be mindful of the potential to spread the infection to others, especially if you have close contact with vulnerable individuals, such as young children, the elderly, or those with weakened immune systems.

The decision to swim with ringworm should be made with careful consideration of these factors, consultation with a healthcare professional, and respect for the rules and guidelines of the swimming facility you plan to visit.

Does Pool Chlorine Kill Ringworm?

Pool Chlorine Kill Ringworm

Chlorine in swimming pool water is effective at killing many bacteria and germs, but it may not always be sufficient to completely eliminate the fungal spores responsible for ringworm (dermatophytes). 

Can you go swimming with ringworm? While chlorine can help reduce the risk of infection transmission in pools, it may not be guaranteed to kill ringworm spores.

Can You Go Swimming With Ringworm? 

It is generally not advisable to go swimming with an active ringworm infection, especially in public pools. 

This is because you could potentially shed the fungal spores into the water, contaminating it and putting others at risk of infection. Most public pools have rules against swimming with contagious skin conditions for this reason.

Does Chlorine Kill Ringworm? 

Chlorine can help reduce the risk of transmission of some infections, but it may not reliably kill ringworm spores. 

The effectiveness of chlorine depends on various factors, including the concentration of chlorine in the water, contact time, and the specific type of chlorine used.

Will Chlorine Kill Ringworm? 

While chlorine can reduce the risk, it’s not a guaranteed method for killing ringworm spores. Fungal spores can be quite resilient, and chlorine may not be as effective against them as it is against bacteria and viruses.

To prevent the spread of ringworm and to protect both yourself and others, it’s generally best to avoid swimming in public pools or other communal water sources

At least till your ringworm infection has completely healed, is no longer active, and is no longer contagious.


Can I go swimming with ringworm?

It’s generally not advisable to swim with an active ringworm infection. The infection is contagious, and you could potentially spread it to others in the pool. 

Additionally, chlorine may not reliably kill ringworm spores, and pool regulations often prohibit swimming with contagious skin conditions.

Can you go to a pool with a ringworm?

Swimming in a pool with ringworm is discouraged. Ringworm is contagious, and you risk infecting others. 

Chlorine may not completely eliminate ringworm spores, and pool rules often prohibit entry with contagious skin conditions to prevent transmission. It’s best to wait until the infection has fully healed.

Is it safe to swim in a private pool with ringworm?

Even in a private pool, it’s advisable to avoid swimming with an active ringworm infection. 

While the risk of spreading the infection to others is lower, fungal spores can persist in pool water, and chlorine may not reliably kill them. Wait until the infection has healed.

Can I swim in natural water bodies like lakes or rivers with ringworm?

Swimming in natural water bodies with ringworms is discouraged. While the risk of transmission may be lower than in pools, fungal spores can survive in untreated water. 

Additionally, it’s essential to consider the potential for infecting others who may swim in the same area.

When is it safe to resume swimming after having ringworm?

It’s safe to swim after ringworm has fully healed, and a healthcare professional has confirmed it’s no longer contagious. 

This typically means the rash is gone, the affected area has returned to normal, and there’s no longer a risk of spreading the infection to others.

Wrapping Up

The decision to swim with ringworm should be approached with careful consideration of various factors. While the allure of water and pools is undeniable, it’s essential to prioritize both your health and the well-being of others. 

Ringworm is contagious, and even though chlorine can help reduce the risk of transmission, it’s not a foolproof solution.

Consult with a healthcare professional for guidance on when it’s safe to resume swimming after a ringworm infection. In most cases, waiting until the infection has fully healed and is no longer contagious is the best course of action. 

Be aware of pool regulations, maintain good personal hygiene, and respect the rules of swimming facilities to prevent spreading the infection to others.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to enjoy the water safely while minimizing the risk of further infections and ensuring a pleasant experience for yourself and your fellow swimmers. Take care. 

Photo of author

Marjan Sokolovski

I am a professional swimming coach who has been coaching for over 20 years. I have coached athletes in the Olympics and Paralympics, and I have also helped to train people across the world. I started my coaching career by teaching swimming lessons at a local pool. I was really passionate about teaching people how to swim, but I quickly realized that this wasn't enough for me. I wanted to make a difference in people's lives and help them achieve their goals. I started working with athletes in high school, college, and then professionally. The best part about coaching is that you get the opportunity to work with so many different types of people from all walks of life - it's just incredible! LinkedIn

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