Fungal Scalp Infection-Tinea Capitis

Fungus infection of the scalp is commonly known as Tinea Capitis. It is a common infection in children but rare in adults.

This fungus is almost always found on animals and the environment. Sometimes children usually acquire it from infected kittens, pups or older dogs. The most common method of acquiring the scalp fungus is from another individual. Sometimes adults may be carriers of this fungus but have no symptoms.

When the fungus infects the scalp it also invades the hair follicle and causes hair to fall off. This is the reason why many individuals with scalp infections also have isolated patches of hair loss

Clinical features

The fungus infection is classically seen in young children who are of kindergarten age. The infection is more common in boys than girls. The infection is often transmitted to children at playgrounds and day cares.

The fungus is usually seen in warm and humid over-crowded situations. The fungus can become a resident on clothes, pillows towels, combs and hair brushes. Unlike other fungus, the scalp fungus is capable for surviving for long periods in harsh environments. Even after months combs can remain infective. Those fungi which are acquired from animals cannot be passed to other individuals.

Tinea capitis may present in several ways.

- the scalp is always dry

- patchy spots of hair loss

- excessive dandruff like appearance

- smooth spots of hair loss

- redden areas of hair loss with pus

- matted hair with crusts

- mild scaling on the edges of the scalp

- itching

- pain

When the scalp infection is not recognized and the treatment is delayed, the fungus infection can cause pus pockets on the scalp. This further leads to enlargement of lymph nodes (glands) at the back of the neck and behind the ears. Untreated fungus infection of the scalp can result in permanent hair loss and scarring

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