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Ringworm in the hair: symptoms, causes and treatment

Ringworm in the hair: symptoms, causes and treatment


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There ringworm in the hair (tinea capitis) it's a'scalp infection very common among children, and not only. Contrary to what one might think when observing its name, it is NOT caused by a worm, but by a fungus: it rather takes this name from the ring or circular appearance of the infection on the skin.

Symptoms of ringworm in the hair

The appearance of the ringworm in the hair it may vary depending on the affected individuals, but the most common signs are redness and scalp encrustation. Intense itching usually occurs as well. Ringworm of the scalp can cause up to 50% of hair loss among babies and is sometimes also associated with enlarged lymph nodes in the neck region.

Read also: Damaged hair, natural remedies

Causes of ringworm in the hair

Dermatophytes - the fungi responsible for ringworm in hair - are found in humans, other animals (most commonly pets such as cats, dogs, and farm animals such as livestock), and in soil.

The fungal spores they can be transmitted through contact with an infected person, fallen infected hair or contaminated objects, such as combs and brushes, hats, cinema seats, bedding and clothing.

Contact alone with one of these carriers may not be enough to cause an infection, but together with minor trauma to the scalp, such as scratches, the spores can enter the skin or hair shaft through the skin layer. Here, the dermatophytes invade and engulf the keratin of the tissue, providing the aforementioned symptom.

Is ringworm in the hair contagious?

Yup, ringworm of the hair is contagious. Fungal spores can be transmitted through contact with an infected person or animal, fallen infected hair, or contaminated objects. Ringworm remains contagious up to about 48 hours after the start of appropriate treatment.

Diagnosis of ringworm in the hair

In many cases, the doctor can diagnose scalp ringworm by examining the patient and asking a few questions.

When the scalp is examined with a lamp that transmits ultraviolet light, the base of the hair shaft glows with a blue-green fluorescent band, signaling that the species is present. Microsporum responsible for ringworm. This is due to the deposits of metabolic byproducts that this species of fungus leaves behind.

More commonly, the doctor can diagnose ringworm in the hair with avisual inspection and observing the symptoms present. However, laboratory-examined scrapings are sometimes necessary to confirm the diagnosis and can be helpful if repeated to make sure the ringworm is treated properly.

Once the tissues have been collected, a 10% -15% solution of potassium hydroxide is added and the slide is studied under a microscope for fungal spores. This method is quick, but is effective in demonstrating fungal spores in only 50% of cases.

The best method of diagnosis is culture. The collected sample is placed in a substrate that provides fungal food to see if growth occurs. This method naturally takes longer, considering that the - more reliable - answer takes from seven to ten days.

Treating ringworm in the hair

Sometimes, ringworm in the hair can heal without treatment, but it is still advisable to consult a doctor in order to obtain a personalized evaluation, case by case. In addition, to ensure timely management of the infection, it must be treated with a course of oral antifungal drugs. However, shaving the scalp is not necessary.

Among the most advisable treatments, which we suggest you adopt only after talking to your doctor, there is shampoo with selenium sulfide (1% - 2.5%), zinc pyrithione (1% - 2%), or ketoconazole. used two or three times a week: a remedy to be repeated at home, which can help decrease the shedding of spores, decrease the spread of infection to other people, and which in any case must be used together with oral medications

In addition to this, considering that family members may be carriers of this fungus, some doctors recommend that family members are still affected at least through the use of ad hoc shampoo, in order to reduce the number of spores. and prevent the infection from returning.

Brushes and combs should be replaced or cleaned with a disinfectant such as bleach solution. The bleach solution can also be made at home, without the need to buy it on the market, by combining a part of bleach in a part of water: in this solution you will need to soak the hair brushes or combs for an hour a day for the first three days after the use of shampoo and oral medicines, which can therefore act with an integrated and synergistic action to quickly reach the final result.

Finally, home remedies such as vinegar (acetic acid) and tea tree oil, which you can often read as remedies for this problem, have not actually been shown to improve ringworm in the hair and can even further irritate the hair. skin and worsen the condition. They will also not prevent the spread of the disease.

That said, our suggestion is obviously to contact the only professional who can develop a particular and personalized treatment, tailored to your specific needs and conditions. So, rather than resorting to do-it-yourself tools and methods of dubious usefulness, you always prefer to speak promptly with your referring doctor and a dermatologist: they will help you quickly identify the best remedy to restore the ideal health conditions of the leather. scalp, making this fungal infection a distant memory!


Video: Fungus on the Skin - 3 Tips to Treat Ringworm (May 2022).