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Home :: Skin Disorders

Tinea Capitis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

 

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Tinea Capitis
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Tinea capitis is an infection of the scalp with a fungus. Tinea capitis is most common between preschool-age and adolescence. Tinea capitis may result in swollen lymph glands at the sides of the back of the neck. Untreated kerion and favus may result in permanent scarring. The disease is considered to be a form of superficial mycosis or dermatophytosis. Several synonyms are used, including ringworm of the scalp and tinea tonsurans. It can be persistent and contagious, however, it often disappears spontaneously at puberty. The fungi that cause tinea infections thrive in warm, moist areas. You have an increased risk for tinea infection if you have poor hygiene, prolonged wetness of the skin (such as from sweating), and minor skin or scalp injuries. Symptoms include round, scaly lesions on the scalp. These areas may be red or swollen. The patient may have areas that appear bald, due to hair that has broken off. There may be small black dots on the scalp. The affected hairs can harbor the fungus for a year or more. As these affected hairs are shed, other family members' scalps can become infected with the same fungus.

Tinea capitis should be considered in every child with a scaly scalp because the infection is common and the presentation diverse. Tinea infections can be treated by a variety of different medications. Children who have tinea capitis are not required to leave school if treatment is used as directed. Most children are not contagious when using the oral medication and shampoo. The aim of treatment is to provide a quick clinical and mycological cure, with minimal adverse effects and spread of disease. This requires oral antifungal agents, although topical treatment may reduce the risk of transmission at the start of systemic therapy. People with tinea pedis should discourage further growth of the fungus by keeping their feet as dry as possible. Wear open-toed sandals whenever possible, avoid boots, dry carefully after washing, and use an antifungal foot powder daily. Keep the area clean. A medicated shampoo, such as one containing selenium sulfide, may reduce the spread of infection. Other family members and pets should be examined and treated, if necessary.

Causes of Tinea capitis

It can be persistent and contagious, however, it often disappears spontaneously at puberty. Factors that may contribute to tinea capitis, therefore, include hot, humid climates, and excessive sweating. You can catch it if you come into direct contact with someone who has the condition, or if you touch contaminated items such as combs, hats, clothing, or similar surfaces. The infection can also be spread by pets, particularly cats.

Common causes and risk factors of Tinea capitis:

  • Exposure to pets with the infection.
  • Diabetes.
  • Immune system disorders, such as human immunodeficiency virus infection.
  • Poor hygiene.

Signs and Symptoms of Tinea capitis

The patient may have areas that appear bald, due to hair that has broken off. There may be small black dots on the scalp. Symptoms of tinia capitis include round, scaly lesions on the scalp. These areas may be red or swollen. Itching of the scalp may be slight, or may not occur at all. Sometimes, there may be pus-filled lesions on the scalp (kerions). If not properly treated, tinea capitis can sometimes cause permanent hair loss.

Sign and symptoms may include the following :

  • Round, scaly lesions on the scalp.
  • Itching of the scalp.
  • Raw skin.
  • Sometimes, there may be pus-filled lesions on the kerions.
  • Smooth areas of hair loss.
  • Yellow crusts and matted hair.

Treatment for Tinea capitis

Tinea infections can be treated by a variety of different medications. The aim of treatment is to provide a quick clinical and mycological cure, with minimal adverse effects and spread of disease. This requires oral antifungal agents, although topical treatment may reduce the risk of transmission at the start of systemic therapy. Children who have tinea capitis are not required to leave school if treatment is used as directed. Most children are not contagious when using the oral medication and shampoo.

Treatment may include:

  • Anti-fungal medications, taken by mouth, are used to treat the infection.
  • A medicated shampoo, such as one containing selenium sulfide, may reduce the spread of infection.
  • Sometimes oral medications are necessary. These are very effective, and include griseofulvin (Grispeg, Fulvicin), Lamisil (terbinafine), Sporonox (itraconazole), and Diflucan (fluconazole).
  • Tinea capitis is also treated with FungRx, an effective natural treatment, which is used to wash the scalp 2-3 times a week.