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Fungal Infection on Scalp: How to Treat It?

Dr. Rekha Yadav 91% (178 ratings)
IAT, BHMS
Trichologist, Mumbai  •  20 years experience
Fungal Infection on Scalp: How to Treat It?

Ringworm of the scalp usually affects children. This is a common type of a fungal infection of the scalp and has nothing to do with the worms as the name suggests. This is treated with antifungal medications and though the antifungal shampo-is not to-effective, it might be advised along with medication.

Causes of scalp ringworm:

  • Most of the times a ringworm infection is transfered from person to person through sharing towels and touching. The fungi and its spores can remain alive on brushes, combs, sheets, furniture and unwashed towels for long. Some people are only carriers of fungi, meaning that they carry the fungi and its spores in their hair and skin but do not have any infection and symptoms. But they might pass the fungi to others who may develop the symptoms.
  • It spreads from pets like cats and dogs who are very prone to fungal infection of the skin. They easily pass their infection to children and other family members. Farm animals are also a source of fungal infection and if the farm gate is touched from where the infected cattle passes, it is enough to cause infection.
  • Also at times there is no reason and fungi infection can just happen out of the blue. Like for example, the fungi spores can get transmitted through air, they might get into the air by an infected person and land on someone else's head. This can develop into fungi and can cause infection.

Symptoms of scalp ringworm:

  1. The infection looks more like dandruff, a severe form of dandruff in different parts of the scalp. This is often mistaken to be psoriasis.
  2. In some infection there is loss of hair leading to bald patches. These patches become scaly and inflamed. The patches might have broken off small hair.
  3. Several painful pustules and boils occur on the scalp
  4. In severe infection there is boggy swelling on some part of the scalp, which is known as kerion. This might be tender and oozing and if not treated can lead to hair loss and permanent scarring.
  5. In severe infections like with pustules and kerion, one might develop high fever and the glands of the neck might swell. 

Treatment of scalp ringworm:
The treatment of the fungal infection of the scalp involves the following:

  1. Antifungal Medicines: These are usually taken in the form of tablets and following are advised:
  2. Griseofulvin: This is often the first choice and a course of 8-12 weeks is required. The tablet can be crushed and taken with water.
  3. Terbinafine: The course for this is four weeks and is important to complete the course in order to get rid of the infection.
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