What Is Scalp Infection?
Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis) is a fungal infection of the scalp and hair shafts, common in children between 2 and 10 years of age. It is highly contagious, especially among children. Some cases of ringworm of the scalp result in severe inflammation at the site of infection that may cause scarring or permanent hair loss. This contagious infection can spread from human to human, object to human, and/or animal to human.
Hair loss, scaling, or itchiness of the scalp, or other unusual appearance of the scalp would be a reason to visit the doctor.
What Triggers It?
Scalp ringworm is caused by mold-like fungi called dermatophytes. The fungi attack the outer layer of skin on the scalp and the hair shaft. Risk factors for ringworm of the scalp include age, exposure to other infected children, and exposure to pets.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Symptoms of scalp ringworm may include red, scaly rash on the scalp; itching of the scalp; hair loss on the scalp; and rash elsewhere on the body.
How Is It Treated?
Treatment of scalp ringworm can include oral medications as well as medicated shampoos to reduce the spread of infection. Oral antifungal medicines like Griseofulvin, Itraconazole and fluconazole is used in dose which is based on weight of the child. Shampoos containing ciclopirox olamine, Selenium sulphide or Ketoconazole may be prescribed.
Special Care And Precautions
Ringworm is difficult to prevent because the causative agents are common and highly contagious. The risk of contracting this infection can be reduced by
- Being aware of the risk of ringworm from infected persons or pets. Tell children about ringworm, what to watch for, and how to avoid the infection.
- Be sure to wash your child’s scalp regularly.
- Be sure your child washes his or her hands often to avoid the spread of infection. Keep common or shared areas clean, at schools, child care centers, and gyms.
- Avoid infected animals. Ask your veterinarian to check your pets and domesticated animals for ringworm.
- Avoid sharing personal items. Teach your children not to let others use their clothing, towels, hairbrushes or other personal items, or to borrow such items from other children.