Q: My daughter has ringworm, and her pediatrician said our cat is the likely source. My husband and I caught it, too. Is there something we can do to treat this? We're tired of itching. A: Ringworm typically shows up as a red, hairless patch on people or pets, often in the shape of a ring. But it's caused by a fungus, not a worm of any kind.

We veterinarians are exposed to ringworm in our patients so often that getting a case of it ourselves is not uncommon. Fortunately, it's not considered a serious condition, in either pets or people, even if it is an itchy one.

I'm going to assume that you're asking about treatment for your cat, since I hope you wouldn't be asking a veterinarian for human medical advice (although it surely wouldn't be the first time). You need to take your cat in for diagnosis and treatment. Your daughter's pediatrician's educated guess may be correct, but your veterinarian needs to confirm it.

Do be aware that while you can get ringworm from a pet, you're more likely to get it from another person. Places such as locker rooms are common areas where funguses might live, since moist, warm areas are a perfect breeding ground for them. Protect yourself by wearing sandals in locker rooms and communal showers and by not sharing towels with anyone.

While dogs, cats and many other animals can get ringworm, cats are more likely to pick it up than other pets. To prevent the fungus from spreading, promptly take your pet to the veterinarian for diagnosis, treatment and a strategy to prevent a repeat infection. Ringworm can certainly be ugly and itchy, but it's usually not hard to cure in people or animals, and is typically treated with cream and pills.