• Tinea Capitis

    (Ringworm of the Scalp; Fungal Infection of the Scalp)


    Tinea capitis is a skin infection that affects the scalp.
    Ringworm of the Scalp
    si55551344 96472 1
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


    Tinea captis is caused by a type of fungus called a dermatophyte. The fungi thrive in warm, humid environments.

    Risk Factors

    Tinea capitis usually affects children under the age of 10 years, and those of African descent. Other factors that may increase your child's chance for tinea capitis include:
    • Daycare centers
    • Exposure to pets with the infection
    • Poor hygiene
    • Sharing combs, brushes, or hats
    • Diabetes
    • Immune system disorders, such as HIV infection


    Tinea capitis may cause:
    • Itching of the scalp (not always present)
    • Bald patches
    • Areas of swelling, redness, scales, sores, or irritated skin
    If left untreated, tinea capitis may cause permanent hair loss and scarring.


    Your doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your child may need to be referred to a specialist. A dermatologist focuses on skin issues.
    The diagnosis is often made with close inspection of the scalp. If the diagnosis is uncertain, the doctor may scrape your child’s scalp or clip a few hairs for testing.
    Tests on the sample may include:
    • Microscopic examination
    • Fungal culture


    The main treatment for tinea capitis is prescription antifungal medications. The condition can be difficult to treat. In some cases, tinea capitis can return after treatment. For some children, the condition goes away during puberty.
    Using an antifungal shampoo may help to reduce the risk of spreading the condition to others.


    To help reduce your child’s chance of tinea capitis:
    • Shampoo your child’s hair regularly.
    • Do not allow your child to share headgear, brushes, or combs.
    • Wash towels, clothes, and any shared items used by an infected person to prevent spreading it to others in the household.
    • Take your pets to the veterinarian for treatment if they develop skin rashes.


    American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov


    Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca

    Dermatologists http://www.dermatologists.ca


    Givens TG, Murray MM, Baker RC. Comparison of 1% and 2.5% selenium sulfide in the treatment of tinea capitis. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1995;149(7):808-811.

    Noble SL, Forbes RC. Diagnosis and management of common tinea infections. Am Fam Physician. 1998;58(1):163-174.

    Tinea capitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 6, 2011. Accessed September 7, 2011.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.