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 a 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