Home remedies for Ringworm in Scalp

Ringworm in the scalp (tinea capitis) is a fungal infection of the scalp and not really a worm. It is highly contagious and commonly affects children. The signs and symptoms may vary but usually, it appears as itchy, scaly, bald spots in your head. Ringworm of your head is not really a worm; it is called so because the fungus leaves circular marks on the scalp. It affects your scalp and hair shafts. In some cases, ringworm of the scalp may result in severe inflammation in areas of infection. It may cause scarring or even result in permanent hair loss.  Treating for ringworms in scalp can be done through medications, ointments and medicated shampoos that may lessen the spreading of infections.

Types of Ringworm

The fungi responsible for ringworm of the scalp can result in other infections in your body. The infections are usually classified based on the body parts they affect.

  • Tinea Corporis (ringworm in the body): This infection results in scaly, red circle or ring of rash on the top layer of your skin.
  • Tinea Pedis (Athlete’s foot): This infection usually affects the sweaty areas between your toes. Sometimes, it affects the foot itself.
  • Tinea Cruris (Jock Itch): This form of infection affects your genital area, buttocks, and inner upper thighs.

Causes for ringworm in scalp

The cause of ringworm of the scalp is caused by one of the several varieties of fungi which are also referred to as dermatophytes. The fungi affect the outer layer of skin on the scalp and also affect the hair shaft.

Ringworm is circular with flat middle portion and raised borders. this is why it’s common name is “ringworm”. It is not actually caused by worms.

Methods of transmission

Ringworm is communicable and following are some ways in which these infections spread:

  • Human to human: Ringworm usually spreads when you come in a direct skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.
  • Object to human: Ringworm can spread if you come in contact with objects or surfaces that had been touched by an infected person or animal. The objects can include combs, towels, clothes, toothbrush, and so on.
  • Animal to human: Domestic animals like dogs and cats, especially puppies and kittens are carriers of the infectious fungi. Cows, pigs, horses, and goats are some other animals that carry these fungi. You or your child can get ringworm by petting or grooming animals carrying ringworm.

Symptoms of ringworms

The symptoms of ringworm include the following:

  • Appearance of scaly patches in the areas of hair loss
  • Expansion or enlargement of the scales and patches
  • Reddening of scaly areas
  • Black dots in the patches where hair has broken off the scalp
  • Fragile hair that easily breaks off
  • Painful areas on the scalp

Treatment for ringworms on scalp

1. Check for the symptoms : If you have the symptoms as follows, you should see a doctor and get your condition confirmed:

  • Appearance of scaly patches in the areas of hair loss. These patches can grow over time
  • Expansion or enlargement of the scales and patches
  • Reddening of scaly areas
  • If you have black hair, the bald spots have black dots in the patches where hair has broken off the scalp
  • If your hair is fragile hair and easily breaks off from the root or near to the hair follicle
  • Painful areas on the scalp

2. Wash your hair with an antifungal shampoo: Only using antifungal shampoo is not likely to cure your condition completely. You need to get medications from your doctor. Nevertheless, the shampoo will help in reducing the spread of the fungus and will help you to heal faster. You may get the shampoo with or without prescription. It depends upon the strength and properties of the shampoo.

  • Usually, the anti fungal shampoos consist of ketoconazole or selenium sulphide.

During the first few weeks of treatment use the shampoo twice a week. If you are instructed otherwise by your doctor, do as instructed.

  • Get advice from your doctor before using these shampoos on your child or on yourself if you are pregnant.

3. Take antifungal medications: You can see your doctor and get these drugs on the doctor’s prescription. You must not use these on your children or in case you’re pregnant. These medications will surely kill the fungus, but they have side effects that you have to take into consideration.

  • Terbinafine (Lamisil): This medication is usually taken daily for about a month and is usually effective. There can be side effects to this medication. They are usually short and may include upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, a rash or altered taste senses. Consult your doctor in case you experience the side effects. You may not be able to take this medication if you have a lung disease.
  • Griseofulvin (Grifulvin V, Gris-Peg): This is a spray and you should take it every day for ten weeks. It can show side effects like, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, and headaches. Men and women must be aware that this can cause birth defects in an unborn child. It can show this effect if the mother takes it when she’s pregnant, when she takes it shortly after conceiving, or if the father has taken it six months within fathering the child. Griseofulvin can reduce the effectiveness of contraceptive pills. So, people using this medication must use barrier method of contraception like a condom. You must not drive whilst you are under its influence. Furthermore, you will be more sensitive to alcohol when you are taking it.
  • Itraconazole: This medication is consumed as a pill for nearly one to two weeks. It may have side effects like, vomiting nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, and headaches. Elderly people, children, and people with that have disease must not take this medication.

4. Do not touch infected areas: The fungus can easily spread through skin-to-skin contact. The following are people who are at greater risk:

  • People having ringworm infection on other parts of their bodies. If they scratch the infected area and then scratch their head, they can easily transfer the fungus to their scalp.
  • Hair stylists, hairdressers, or barbers. Since, they come in contact with the hair of many people, they are prone to getting the infection
  • Daycare workers or school nurses who are for the most of their days, in contact with a lot of children
  • People who have an infected family member or partner.

5. Disinfect contaminated objects: The objects susceptible to carrying the fungus must either be disinfected or replaced. The following items are most likely to spread the infection:

  • Combs, hair implements, or hairbrushes. To disinfect these items, soak them in a solution of bleach and water in the proportion of 1 part of bleach and 3 parts of water.
  • Gym mats, towels, bed sheets, and clothing. In order to disinfect these items, add a bleach or disinfectant when you wash them.

Prevention of ringworm on scalp

Prevention of ringworms is difficult. The fungi responsible for ringworms are highly contagious and largely common. However, you can use these steps in order to reduce the probability of falling victim to ringworms

  • Educate yourself and those you can: Make yourself aware of the risks of getting ringworms from infected persons or pets. Educate your children about the infections and teach them how to avoid infections and what to look out for.
  • Shampoo regularly: Wash your child’s scalp on a regular basis. After haircuts, make sure you wash their scalp really well because there are chances that the scissors came in contact with the fungus.
  • Cleanliness: Make sure your child washes his or her hands to avoid the spread of infection. The shared areas must be kept clean. Keeping areas in and around child care centers, schools, locker rooms, and gyms is important.
  • Avoid coming in contact infected animals: In case your pet has a patch of skin showing and where the fur has fallen off, suggests the it might have the infection. There may be cases where you may not notice any signs of the disease. You should get your pets checked up on a regular basis. Your veterinarian will give you advices on what is to be done.
  • Stop sharing personal items: Teach your children not to borrow any items from their friends and not to lend any of their items to their friends. Teach them of the risks involved in sharing personal items like combs, towels, clothes, and so on.

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