Tinea capitus and kerions
What is tinea capitus?
Tinea capitus is a fungal infection of the hair follicles on the scalp. The lesions often appear as small areas of hair loss or as scaly white crust or bumps. When an infection becomes more severe, a large, bumped-up, boggy area may appear (a kerion). This kerion may have areas of weeping yellow fluid and crust and may be painful.
What causes tinea capitus?
Funguses like Trichophyton, Microsporum, and Epidermophyton can cause tinea capitus and kerions. These funguses spread from other children, some animals and the environment. These funguses have the ability to breakdown keratin, a key component of skin, nails and hair. The fungus hides in the hair follicles and is resistant to topical antifungal creams and ointments.
How is tinea capitus diagnosed?
Usually, a physician can diagnose tinea capitus on sight. If necessary, the lesion can be scraped with a microscope slide and the skin flakes can be viewed under a microscope. The scrapings can also be "cultured" by a laboratory for confusing cases.
Is tinea capitus contagious?
Yes. Although, a child who is receiving treatment does not need to be isolated from other healthy children.
How is tinea capitus treated?
Treatment for tinea capitus is usually accomplished with antifungal medicines taking by mouth for 2 - 4 weeks. Creams, ointments and shampoos are not effective because infection occurs deep in the hair follicles.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 23 June 2009 10:45)