Ringworm of the scalp, commonly known as Tinea capitis is not really a worm, but a fungal infection. This infection affects both your hair shafts and scalp, causing small patches of itchy, scaly skin on the scalp. The name “ringworm” is given to it because the fungus makes circular marks on the skin. Ringworm is a highly contagious that usually spreads through person-to-person contact or by sharing towels, combs or pillows. Although,it occurs mostly in children, but can infect a person of any age.
Causes of Tinea Capitis
Fungi named dermatophytes cause ringworm of the scalp. Fungi are organisms that thrive on dead tissues, such as hair, fingernails, and the outer layers of your skin.
Ringworms spreads easily, especially among children. You can get ringworm if you come in contact with the skin of an infected person. Alternatively, by using combs, towels, bedding, or other objects that have been used by an infected person, you are at risk. House pets, such as puppies and kittens, can also spread ringworm. These animals might not show any signs of infection.
Symptoms of Ringworm of the Scalp
The most common symptom of ringworm is itchy patches on the scalp. Sections of hair may break off at or close to the scalp, leaving bald spots or scaly, red areas. If left untreated, these areas gradually grow making it unsightly and embarrassing.
Other symptoms include:
Swollen lymph nodes (vessels that help the body fight off infection)
- Low fever
Diagnosis of Ringworm of the Scalp
The condition of the scalp at its look is often enough for a doctor to diagnose ringworm of the scalp. The doctor may also take a hair or skin sample to confirm the diagnosis. This involves taking hair from a scaly patch of the scalp and looking at it under a microscope. The sample is then sent to a lab to determine the presence of fungi.
Teatment of Tinea Capitis
Doctors often prescribe fungi-killing oral medication and medicated shampoo in order to stop the growth of fungal infection and eradicate them completely.
To prevent the spread of infection and to remove fungus, your doctor may prescribe a medicated shampoo that contains at least two-and-a-half percent selenium sulfide, the active anti-fungal ingredient. You need to leave the shampoo on for five minutes, then rinse. Medicated shampoo helps prevent the fungus from spreading, but it is not enough to kill ringworm. This type of treatment has to be combined with oral medication.
Hair pieces and hair accessories
In order to cover the bald patches due to Tinea capitis, the best this you can do is opt for hair accessories like lace wigs. This is an effective and economical option to avoid being embarrassed among friends and colleagues.