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Ringworm on Scalp

Ringworm on Scalp Facts

Scalp ringworm (tinea capitis) is a very common scalp infection among children throughout the world. It is one of the most common skin problems seen in children. It is not caused by a worm but by a fungus 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, those living in overcrowded quarters, or those 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 (tinea corporis) differs from scalp ringworm and is caused by a separate organism.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Ringworm on Scalp:

Ringworm on Scalp - Treatment

What treatment was effective for your scalp ringworm?

Ringworm on Scalp - Home Remedies

Did any home remedies effectively treat your scalp ringworm?

Ringworm on Scalp - Symptoms and Signs

Please describe your scalp ringworm symptoms and signs.

Scalp ringworm may cause hair loss.

Is Ringworm Contagious?

Ringworm is highly contagious and can be spread from person to person, as well as by clothing or linens used by an affected person, or from household pets. To keep ringworm from spreading

  • avoid touching suspicious areas;
  • maintain proper hygiene by washing the hands and body frequently and laundering the linens and clothes of an infected family member separately; and
  • avoid contact sports such as wrestling until you have been treating the sores for at least 48 hours.
  • If pets have ringworm, take them to a veterinarian for prompt treatment, vacuum areas where the pet spends time, disinfect surfaces and pet bedding, and wash the hands after handling a pet.

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 »


Medical Dictionary