Ringworm Overview of Ringworm (Tinea) Ringworm is a common fungal infection of your skin or nails. Ringworm has nothing to do with worms. But the rash it causes can be ring-shaped. Therefore the infection has come to be called ringworm... read more is a common fungal infection of your skin or nails. Ringworm has nothing to do with worms. But the rash it causes can be ring-shaped. Therefore the infection has come to be called ringworm. Doctors call these infections "tinea."
What is scalp ringworm?
Scalp ringworm is a fungal infection that causes a scaly rash or patch of hair loss on the scalp.
Scalp ringworm is most common in children
It spreads easily from person to person
It can cause a scalp rash, bald spots, and rarely a painful swelling that leaks pus
Treatment includes antifungal medicine taken by mouth and used in a scalp cream and special shampoo
It can take a long time to get rid of scalp ringworm
What are the symptoms of scalp ringworm?
A dry, scaly rash on your head that may itch
Sometimes, flaking of your scalp that looks like dandruff
Sometimes, a painful swollen patch on the scalp that may blister or ooze pus (kerion)
How do doctors tell if I have scalp ringworm?
Doctors can often tell it's scalp ringworm by looking at it. They'll sometimes pluck a hair from your head and take a small scraping of skin to look at under a microscope. They may look at your scalp with an ultraviolet (UV) light, because ringworm glows under UV light and other rashes don't.
How do doctors treat scalp ringworm?
Doctors treat scalp ringworm in children with:
Antifungal medicine by mouth for 4 to 6 weeks
Antifungal cream applied to the child's scalp until the infection is gone
Prescription-strength selenium sulfide shampoo to wash the child's hair, at least twice a week
For a kerion, corticosteroids by mouth
Children may attend school during treatment.
Doctors treat scalp ringworm in adults with:
Antifungal medicine by mouth for 3 to 4 months