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Tinea capitis is a fungal infection of the scalp also known as ringworm. It is the most common fungal infection in children under 12 years of age.


Tinea capitis is caused by several species of common fungus. Some of these organisms also infect dogs and cats. Many are commonly found in the environment


 Common signs include hair loss, scaling, redness and crusting on the scalp. The scalp it often itchy. Sometimes, children with tine wapitis develop a severe reaction to the infection in their scalp, called a kerion. Redness, swelling, pain, fever and pustules may develop. The lymph nodes in the back of the neck may increase in size.

Your provider may take a swab culture from your child's scalp to confirm the diagnosis.


Tinea wapitis must be treated with an oral antibiotic for at least 6-8 weeks. After treatment, a follow-up appointment with your provider is recommended. At that time, he/she will decide of your child needs to continue taking the medication.

Griseofulvin is the most common antibiotic used to treat tinea capitis. For it to work properly, you must give it to your child with whole milk or fatty food, such as ice cream. Your doctor may also decide to use another antibiotic instead, such as terbinifine (Lamisil). It is very important that you follow the medication instructions exactly as prescribed.

Your child, as well as all other family members who live at home, will need to shampoo 2 times a week with a medicated shampoo. This reduces the chance that your child will become re-infected. Recommended shampoos include 1% and 2.5% selenium sulfide shampoo (Selsun and Head & Shoulders Intensive Treatment).

If your child develops a kerion, oral corticosteroids and an oral antibiotic may also be prescribed.


Special Instructions:

Your child should have his own comb and brush.  He should not share hats, pillows or hair accessories with other people. Clean combs, brushes, pillowcases and hats weekly with soap and hot water to decrease the risk of re-infection, which is common.