What do I need to know about caring for someone with tinea capitis?

The most important thing to remember when caring for someone with tinea capitis, or scalp ringworm, is that it is highly contagious. If you are not careful, you will contract the infection too. You and the person who has scalp ringworm need to wash your hands frequently. Do not share anything that comes in contact with the hair -- hats, helmets, headbands, pillowcases, towels, combs, or hairbrushes, for example. Washing the scalp of the person on a regular basis will reduce the risk of spreading the fungus that causes the infection. Make sure the person uses prescribed shampoos and antifungal medications as directed. You should also know that the infection can come back even after it seems cured, so make sure to keep an eye out for symptoms. Be sure to contact your medical care provider with any questions or concerns you have.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Be sure to follow the doctor’s instructions for using any medications when caring for someone with tinea capitis, which is often called scalp ringworm. Treatment usually requires taking a prescription antifungal medicine by mouth for up to eight weeks. Your doctor may also suggest applying an antifungal cream to the scalp once or twice a day, and using an antifungal shampoo two or three times a week.

Ringworm is extremely contagious, so you’ll want to check all family members for signs of the fungal infection. Look for round, reddish, scaly patches or bald patches with black dots on the scalp. Check any family pets, too, as they can spread ringworm as well.

Don’t share pillows, hats, helmets, or anything that comes in contact with the scalp. Teach children not to share these items, either. Wash all bedding and nightclothes in hot water and dry in high heat. Sterilize combs and hairbrushes by soaking for an hour in a solution of one-half bleach and one-half water.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.