Some fungal species can cause infections on the body and scalp. The infection causes rashes and itching on the skin, so-called ringworm, or scaly patches on the scalp. The infection occurs through body contact from person to person or from pets to humans. The infection is uncommon, but sometimes epidemics can occur in, for example, preschools.
This type of fungal infection is called tinea, which means skin fungus. The infections have another name that tells them where they are.
Ringworm – tinea corporis
Corporis means body. Fungal infections of the body are called ringworm, or ringworm. The disease usually occurs on the arms, legs, chest, and face.
Ringworm can infect pets, such as cats, guinea pigs, and rabbits. Most often, the infected pet also has symptoms such as itching and hairless stains. The infection can also spread from person to person.
Scalp fungus – tinea capitis
Capitis means head. Scalp fungus most commonly occurs in children. This may be because the increased sebum production in adults inhibits fungal growth. The infection can also occur in people who have a reduced immune system due to illness or medication.
Some fungi that cause scalp infection are more common in other countries than in many countries. Many people who have scalp fungus have been infected in tropical countries.
Symptoms of ringworm and scalp
The most common symptom of ringworm is small red and itchy rash. On dark skin, the red is usually not visible. The rashes are round or oval and several millimeters to several centimeters in size. The surface is often scaly or pebbly rich. When the rash gets bigger, they can start healing in the middle and then get their typical ring shape. The skin inside the ring may look normal. The edge of the ring is slightly raised and can scaly, it is red on light skin and grayish-white on dark skin.
The typical sign of scalp fungus is one or more scaly spots with short interrupted hairs.
The incubation period, that is, the time it takes from the time you are infected until the disease appears, can vary from a few days up to a maximum of two weeks.
When should I seek care?
If you think you or your child has a fungal infection on your body or scalp, contact a health care provider. Everyone living together should examine themselves so that everyone can receive treatment at the same time.
Treatment for ringworm and scalp
The infections usually do not heal on their own but need to be treated with antifungal drugs.
In the case of ringworm, the cream is used primarily, but sometimes treatment with tablets is needed.
Scalp fungus is treated with tablets. Sometimes creams on the scalp are used simultaneously with the tablets. It is important not to use hair oil at the same time as the cream, as the effect can then decrease.
An infected animal may need to be treated by a veterinarian.
When you or your child have ringworm and scalp, it is important to reduce the risk of infecting others. You can do the following:
- For example, wash linens, blankets, towels, hats, and veils in at least 60 degrees C.
- Clean hairbrushes and combs.
How can I prevent it?
The infections are difficult to prevent. The fungus is contagious even before you have symptoms. But you can reduce the risk of ringworm by following these tips:
- Look for ringworm on the farm animals. The infection often looks like a skin spot where there is no fur.
- Avoid direct contact with someone who is infected.
- Do not share clothes, towels, hairbrushes or other personal items with others.
Can children be in preschool or school?
The infection risk ceases quickly after the start of treatment. Children who have started treatment can attend preschool or school.