Scalp fungus or tinea capitis is the fungal infection of the skin of the scalp, eyelashes and the eyebrows with a tendency of infecting hair follicles and shafts. This skin condition is one form of dermatophytosis or superficial mycosis. Scalp fungus is also known as tinea tonsurans or ringworm of the scalp. There is an increasing percentage of the United States population as well as other parts of the globe of the incidence of tinea capitis.
Children are the common victims of tinea capitis. The skin problem results to patchy hair loss and scaling. It has been considered an outbreak in many African American regions. The scalp may appear to be in circular empty patches but proper treatment will prevent permanent hair loss.
Scalp Fungus: Common Causes
Since the body hosts an array of microorganisms, the existence of yeast-like fungi, bacteria, mold-like fungi are inevitable. Some may have been beneficial to the body’s system, while others cause more damage than help. In worse cases, these parasites can multiply in number and may make your body as their permanent dwellings.
Scalp fungus can be contagious and can recur from time to time resulting to an epidemic. However, during points of puberty, the skin condition may disappear on its own without treatment.
Typically the fungi causing tinea infections flourish in moist and warm areas. Minor skin or scalp injuries, poor hygiene, and prolonged moistness of the skin can be contributing factors to the existence of fungi.
Similar to other tinea infections, the skin disorder can be contagious. It may be transmitted by direct physical contact with infected individuals or objects such as combs, clothing or hats. Some fungi can be transferred through pets that can carriers of fungal infections.
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Scalp Fungus: Signs and Symptoms
In tinea capitis, the itching of the scalp may appear to be mild or none at all. In severe cases, lesions may develop. They can be round and scaly, or may come out with skin redness or inflamed. Or pus may fill up the lesions on the scalp.
The dilemma comes in when bald patches begin to manifest. They resemble like hair is broken off. Sometimes dark spots on the scalp may be visible. There is occasional swelling in local areas of the skin.
Scalp Fungus: Treatment
The objective of antifungal treatment is to manage the infection. If topical treatments are insufficient, oral antifungal medications may be recommended.
Make sure that the infected area is kept clean. Medicated shampoos, with active ingredient selenium sulfide, may prevent the spread of fungal infection in other parts of the body. Other infected family members as well as pets should also be treated considering the skin condition is contagious.
New antifungal medications available in drug stores, such as fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, and terbinafine have been proven to be effective as alternative therapeutic agents for scalp fungus.