Fungal infection can occur anywhere in the body. Scalp fungal infection is medically termed as tinea capitis or ringworm of the scalp. It is a relatively common condition that is seen in children, although it does occur in adults as well. In a majority of the cases, scalp fungus is caused by two different fungi, namely trichophyton and microsporum canis.
It is a contagious disease and the main route of transmission is by direct contact with the infected person. Other ways of transmission are sharing clothes and hair combs. The spores of the fungi can survive for a long time on the object where they settle.
Scalp fungal infection results in hair loss and inflammation of the scalp.
Symptoms of Scalp Fungal Infection
- Only a small portion of the scalp may initially be involved; slowly it spreads all over the scalp.
- Hair loss occurs in the area of infection.
- Small black dots on the bald patch due to broken hairs are seen.
- The bald patch is round and scaly with a well defined border.
- The area of infection is inflamed and red.
- Itching of the scalp is common.
- Lymph nodes in the neck enlarge and become tender.
- Low grade fever develops in some cases.
- Pustules or small boils develop on the scalp.
- Occasionally, the condition is mistaken for psoriasis.
Scalp Fungal Infection Causes
Fungi are microbes that can live on dead tissues of the hairs and the outer layer of the skin for a long time. There are many types of fungi present on the body. Fungal infection on the scalp is caused by fungi known as dermatophytes. This fungus prefers moist and warm surroundings for its survival. The triggering factors for the occurrence of the infection are poor hygiene, crowded places, excessive sweating, sharing common objects such as towels, hair combs and hair brushes, etc. Most people develop scalp fungal infection by direct contact with an infected person. Some people may act as carriers for the fungal infection; that is, they do not suffer from the symptoms even though the fungus is present on their skin. However, they pass the fungus on to other people who may develop the disease. Infection can also spread via animals infected with the disease.
Scalp Fungal Infection Treatment
The following home remedies have proved to be effective for the management of fungal infections of the scalp:
- Papaya is highly beneficial in the treatment of scalp fungal infection. Chop a few pieces of raw papaya and rub on your scalp. Leave on for about half an hour and then rinse with plain warm water. Dry seeds of raw papaya are effective as well. Powder them and store in a bottle. Use whenever needed. Make a paste of the powdered seeds by mixing with water. Apply on the affected area and leave on for thirty minutes before washing with water.
- Mustard seeds are used frequently as well to manage scalp infections. Apply paste made from mustard powder on the affected area regularly on your scalp for few days until you see an improvement.
- Juice extracted from basil leaves is also effective in treating scalp fungal infections. Grind a few leaves of basil and extract the juice. Apply over your scalp and leave overnight. Wash your hair in the morning.
- To prevent the infection do not share towels and hair brushes with others.
- Seek treatment if you suspect that your pet has been infected with the fungal infection.
- Anti fungal creams, shampoos and medicines to treat scalp fungal infection are also advocated in certain cases.