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Ringworm of the Scalp or Beard (cont.)


To prevent ringworm of the scalp or beard:

  • Keep your skin clean and dry.
  • Do not share hats, combs, or brushes with others. Children should use their own combs and brushes and should not share with other family members.
  • Shampoo once a month with a shampoo that contains selenium sulfide (such as Selsun Blue or Head and Shoulders Intensive Treatment) if you or a family member has had ringworm of the scalp recently.
  • Don't play with animals (including dogs and cats) that have bald or mangy spots on their coats, which may be caused by fungal infection. A veterinarian can tell what is causing a pet's skin problem and can recommend treatment.
  • Use hot, soapy water to clean toys, telephones, furniture, and other items that may have fungi on them.
  • Wash your clothes, towels, and bed sheets in hot, soapy water. Do not share towels.

Home Treatment

You usually treat ringworm of the scalp or beard with antifungal pills prescribed by a doctor. Shampoos available without a prescription are helpful if you use them along with prescription pills. But when they are used alone, they cannot completely destroy all of the fungi causing the infection.

If you have ringworm of the scalp or beard:

  • Be sure to complete the full course of any prescribed medicine, or follow the directions for products available without a prescription. They often require use for a period of time after symptoms go away.
  • Wash your hair or beard 2 or 3 times a week with shampoo that contains selenium sulfide or ketoconazole. In severe scalp fungal infections, wash your scalp daily and wear a cap. You should boil the cap after you use it.2
  • As soon as you start treatment, throw away your combs and brushes and buy new ones.
  • You will most likely see your doctor again after 3 to 4 weeks of treatment. Your doctor will also want to see you after you have finished all your medicine.
  • Follow the suggestions for preventing ringworm, such as keeping your skin clean and dry, and not sharing hats, combs, or brushes with others.
  • Ask your doctor whether your family members need to be tested. Family members can use an antifungal shampoo with selenium sulfide in it (such as Selsun Blue or Head and Shoulders Intensive Treatment) to prevent the spread of infection.

You do not need to keep your child out of school if he or she is taking pills to treat ringworm of the scalp. Although parents sometimes use a special shampoo to help prevent the spread to other children, it is not needed. And you do not need to shave your child's head.1

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