Tinea capitis: what is it?

A fungal illness that affects your child’s scalp and hair is called tinea capitis. Scalp ringworm is another term for tinea capitis. Fungi that infiltrate your child’s hair follicles and frequently hair shafts cause tinea capitis. The eyebrows and eyelashes of your youngster may also be affected by tinea capitis.

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Both inflammatory and non-inflammatory tinea capitis are possible. Kerion may result from an inflammatory kind. Painful, pus-filled, and occasionally oozing areas are known as tinea capitis kerion. Kerion is the result of an immune system reaction to the fungus in your child. Permanent hair loss and scars might result from it.

Permanent hair loss is rare in cases of non-inflammatory tinea capitis. It may result in black dot tinea capitis, a condition where the hair shafts of your child break at the surface of their scalp. There is another kind of non-inflammatory ringworm called gray patch tinea capitis. It indicates that the hair shafts in your child split above the surface, producing small stubs.

Who is impacted by tinea capitis?

Children aged 3 to 14 are the most typically affected by tinea capitis. But adults can also have tinea capitis. It is particularly prevalent in those with compromised immune systems.

How often does tinea capitis occur?

Dermatologists and primary care physicians frequently treat tinea capitis. Around the world, the illness is diagnosed. It is especially prevalent in warm, humid regions like Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central America.

How does tinea capitis manifest itself?

A child’s scalp may be completely or partially affected by tinea capitis. Among the symptoms might be:

red, swollen areas.

Scaly, dry rashes.

extreme itching.

patches of alopecia (hair loss).

Scalp flaking that looks like dandruff.

Low fever.

enlarged nodes of lymph.

Your child’s scalp may experience uncomfortable swelling areas due to inflammatory tinea capitis. We refer to these patches as kerion. There might be pus-filled, crusty blisters on the kerion. Your child may have permanent scars from inflammatory tinea capitis and their hair may not regrow.

Hair shafts break at the surface as a result of black dot tinea capitis, giving the appearance of black dots. Tinea capitis with a gray area causes short hair stubs.

Why does tinea capitis occur?

Tinea capitis is brought on by dermatophytes, fungi that resemble mold. Trichophyton and Microsporum dermatophytes are the most frequent sources of infection in the US. Fungi like warm, humid conditions to flourish. Tropical regions are often where it grows.

Additionally, tinea capitis spreads quickly. Contact with contaminated persons, animals, or dirt can result in tinea capitis in your child. They may also come into contact with the fungus by handling or utilizing items that are infected. On contaminated materials and objects, tinea capitis can survive for a very long period.

What are the tinea capitis risk factors?

Tinea capitis grows well in warm, humid conditions. Among the most prevalent risk factors are:

residing in a tropical climate.

traveling to places where it’s hot and muggy.

living in close proximity to other people.

engaging in sports involving contact.

suffering from little wounds on the scalp.

not giving your kids regular baths or washings.

Sweating excessively (hyperhidrosis).

distributing items and supplies like caps, hairbrushes, and athletic gear.

having compromised immune systems as a result of diseases including diabetes, cancer, and HIV/AIDS.

How is tinea capitis transmitted?

Tinea capitis spreads easily. It spreads swiftly among kids. There are three major ways that tinea capitis spreads.


After coming into close touch with an infected person, your kid may acquire tinea capitis. The individual could have symptoms or not. However, they have the ability to transfer the virus if they are a carrier.


If your child comes into contact with an infected animal, they might get tinea capitis. Tinea capitis may spread across a wide variety of animals. Pets like dogs and cats are included in this.


Fomites are materials or items that might potentially spread disease. If your child shares helmets, caps, combs, hairbrushes, or other items, they might get tinea capitis.