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Definition

Tinea capitis is an infection of the scalp by mold-like fungi called dermatophytes. It is a common skin disorder, especially among children. However, it may occur in people of all ages. It is also known by names such as ringworm of the scalp and Tinea tonsurans. In the US and other regions of the world, the incidence of Tinea Capitis is increasing.
The fungus causing tinea capitis prefers hair follicles. therefore tinea capitis favors the scalp area. The affected hairs can harbor the fungus for a year or more.

Causes

The fungi that cause tinea infections thrive in warm, moist areas. Susceptibility to tinea infection is increased by poor hygiene, prolonged wetness of the skin (such as from sweating), and minor skin or scalp injuries. We know that the body has several of microorganisms such as dermatophytes, bacteria and Candida. And among them some microorganisms are helpful to the body and some microorganisms may grow frequently and cause signs and symptoms. Tinea capitis is a disease of skin and it happen only due to this type of microorganisms.
Risk factors for tinea capitis include:

  • Exposure to pets with the infection
  • Age: under 10 years of age
  • Daycare centers
  • Poor hygiene
  • Sharing combs, brushes, or hats
  • Diabetes
  • Immune system disorders, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection

Symptoms

It can occur on any area of the body not covered by hair. Tinea capitis is usually seen in young children. Tinea pedis (Athletes foot) typically occurs on the feet. Ringworm begins as a small red bump or papule that spreads outward, so that each affected area takes on the appearance of a red, scaly outer ring with a clear central area.

Common symptoms are-

  • Round and scaly skin lesions on the scalp.
  • Itching or burning on the affected area.
  • Skin lesions are red in color and inflammation.
  • Small dots in black color are found on the scalp.
  • Affected area appear pus-filled lesions or swelling on the scalp.

Treatment

Children who have tinea capitis are not required to leave school if treatment is used as directed. Most children are not contagious when using the oral medication and shampoo.

Intralesional steroids are often used for severe cases of tinea capitis. However, there are no randomized trials to support this practice.

In evaluating price, griseofulvin appears to be the most costly treatment. However, the higher cost must be weighed against extra clinic visits, laboratory monitoring, managing adverse reactions and treatment failures seen with other agents.

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