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Ringworm on Scalp

Ringworm on Scalp Facts

Scalp ringworm (tinea capitis) is a very common infection among children throughout the world. It is not caused by a worm but by a fungus infection and is named for the ring-like or circular appearance of the infection on the skin. Fungal organisms known as dermatophytes superficially infect certain types of tissue found in hair, skin, and nails. The different types of fungal infections are named based on location and may differ in how they are treated. Certain dermatophytes forms the crusty, scaly patches commonly associated with scalp ringworm.

  • Some people (mostly adults) can be carriers of the organism and spread it to others in the household without having symptoms.
  • Children 4-14 years of age are most likely to develop ringworm of the scalp, although it can occasionally appear in adults and may occur in younger children.
  • Scalp ringworm occurs most frequently in urban areas among people with poor hygiene, low incomes living in overcrowded quarters, or living in warm, damp climates.
  • This disease tends to be more severe in people with weakened immune systems, such as those with diabetes, AIDS, or cancer.
  • Ringworm found on the body differs from scalp ringworm and is caused by a separate organism.

Ringworm on Scalp Causes

Dermatophytes can be found in humans, other animals (most commonly household pets such as cats, dogs, and farm animals such as cattle), and soil. Fungal spores can be transmitted through contact with an infected person, fallen infected hairs, or contaminated objects. These may include objects such as combs and brushes, hats, movie theater seats, bedding, and clothing. Contact alone with one of these carriers may not be enough to cause an infection. However, coupled with minor trauma to the scalp, such as scratches or tight braiding, spores can enter the skin or hair shaft through the stratum corneum (a layer of the skin). Here, dermatophytes invade and digest the tissue's keratin (a type of protein) as the organisms grow.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/12/2016
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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Ringworm on Scalp:

Ringworm on Scalp - Treatment

What was the effective treatment for your scalp ringworm?

Ringworm of the Scalp: After Your Visit

Ringworm is a fungus infection of the skin. It is not caused by a worm or bug. Ringworm causes round patches of baldness or scaly skin on the scalp. Ringworm of the scalp is most common in children 3 to 9 years old.

Sometimes a blister-like rash appears on the face with ringworm of the scalp. This is an allergic reaction that usually clears when the ringworm is treated.

The fungus that causes ringworm of the scalp spreads from person to person. You can catch ringworm by sharing hats, combs, brushes, towels, telephones, or sports equipment. You can also get it by touching a person with ringworm. Once in a while, it can also spread from a dog or cat to a person.

Ringworm of the scalp is treated with pills and shampoo or lotion that kill the fungus. Ringworm may come back after treatment. Treating ringworm of the scalp can prevent scarring and permanent hair loss.

SOURCE: Healthwise


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Tinea Capitis »

Tinea capitis is a disease caused by superficial fungal infection of the skin of the scalp, eyebrows, and eyelashes, with a propensity for attacking hair shafts and follicles.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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