Tinea Capitis Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Tinea Capitis Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Tinea capitis is a fungal infection of the scalp and hair. Signs and symptoms of tinea capitis can vary. Generally, tinea capitis causes complaints such as itching, scaly, and bald patches on the head.

Tinea capitis is a contagious disease and is most often found in toddlers and school-age children. Treatment for tinea capitis includes oral medications to kill the fungus, as well as using medicated shampoos that can reduce the spread of the infection.

Some cases of tinea capitis can cause severe inflammation at the site of infection. This condition can cause permanent scarring and baldness.


The following are the signs and symptoms of tinea capitis, such as:

  • One or more round patches of scaly skin at the site of hair loss on the scalp
  • Patches that grow slowly over time
  • Areas that are scaly, gray or reddish in color
  • Bands with small black dots where the hair falls off the scalp
  • Hair that is easily brittle and loose
  • Painful soft area on the scalp


Tinea capitis can be caused by one of several types of fungi known as dermatophytes. This type of fungus attacks the outer part of the scalp and hair.

Tinea capitis is a contagious disease, by means of transmission as follows:

  • Human to human. The fungus that causes tinea capitis can be spread through direct skin contact with infected individuals.
  • object to humans. The fungus that causes tinea capitis can be spread through contact with objects or surfaces that have been in contact with infected humans or animals, such as clothing, towels, bed sheets, or combs.
  • Animal to human. Dogs and cats, especially at a young age, are often carriers of the fungus that causes tinea capitis. Other animals that are frequent carriers include cows, goats, pigs and horses.

Several risk factors for tinea capitis, namely:

  • Age. Tinea capitis is most often found in toddlers and school-age children.
  • Exposure to other children. Outbreaks of tinea capitis are quite common in schools or daycare settings, where the infection can spread easily through close physical contact.
  • Exposure to pets. Pets, such as dogs and cats, can be infected without showing signs or symptoms. Children can be infected by touching or petting infected animals.


The diagnosis of tinea capitis is generally established through a series of detailed medical interviews, direct physical examination by looking at the scalp, as well as certain supporting examinations.

The doctor may take samples from the hair or skin for further evaluation under a microscope. An examination can show the presence of fungus and confirm the diagnosis.


Treatment of tinea capitis can be done by administering anti-fungal drugs according to a doctor’s prescription. Treatment can be given orally with a duration of treatment of about six weeks or more.

The doctor may also suggest giving a shampoo containing medication for washing hair, which is also given according to the prescription. This can help get rid of fungal spores and prevent the infection from spreading to other people or to other parts of the body.


Some things that can be done to reduce the risk of tinea capitis are:

  • Educate yourself and others. Recognize the risk of contracting tinea capitis from an infected individual or pet. Tell your children and family about tinea capitis, things to watch out for, and how to prevent contracting the infection.
  • Wash your hair regularly. Make sure that you wash your hair regularly, especially after a haircut.
  • Keep clean. Make sure that your children and family wash their hands frequently to prevent the spread of infection. Keep areas such as schools, daycare centers, sports facilities, and so on clean.
  • Avoid infected animals. The infection usually looks like a patch of skin where there is no hair. However, in some cases, there are no signs or symptoms.
  • Avoid sharing personal items. Inform your children and family not to allow other people to use clothes, towels, combs or other personal items, or borrow from others.

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