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What is ringworm?

During this week, the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV) has warned about the increase in cases ofgot it in hairdressers, a growth which, moreover, has been experienced for approximately two years among the adolescent male population who cut their hair by means of gradient and shaving, pointing out the lack of disinfection of the products used for the treatment of hair in these centers as one of the main causes of this outbreak.

AEDV dermatologists warned last Tuesday of the outbreak of ringworm on the scalp detected in Spanish hairdressers, which particularly affects the adolescent male population, and offered their support and advice to optimize the follow-up of those affected and the eradication of focus

The identification and concern for the problem, shared by dermatologists, has been the origin of a collaborative work carried out within the scope of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology and accepted for publication in the journal Actas Dermo-Sifiliographics.

The study, entitled Outbreak of dermatophytosis in the head and neck region associated with shaving in hairdressers: Multicentre descriptive study of a series of cases shows the clinical and epidemiological findings in a retrospective study of 107 cases collected by a large group of Spanish dermatologists.

This work reveals that the causative fungus in most cases was the Trychophyton tonsuranswhich in turn corresponds to the usual typology of head ringworm.

What is ringworm?

The experts ofHair Hospitalthey explain what this scalp infection consists of, what are its main symptoms, how to prevent its occurrence or the most common treatments to combat it.

“Among the different diseases that affect the scalp we find ringworm or tinea capitis, which is a mycotic infection, that is to say, caused by fungi, which gets its name from its circular shape. These fungi, called dermatophytes, invade the hair shaft under the scalp, which can cause itching, scaling, areas of baldness and even permanent hair loss in the most severe cases.details Dr. Raquel Amaro, from the Hospital Capilar clinic.

Although ringworm mainly affects the scalp area, other areas such as theeyebrows and eyelashesas well as other regions such as the man’s beard, the groin (ringworm) or between the toes (ringworm or athlete’s foot).

Likewise, it should be emphasized that, although it can occur at any age, it usually occurs more frequently among children aged 6 months to 12 years, with a slight predominance in males.

“Although ringworm affects all people equally, it is true that it can become more frequent in young children of school age and, for this reason, outbreaks are observed in schools, being the place where there is more contact between them and, therefore, where there is more ease of contagion, while, on the other hand, it is rarer to observe it after puberty. It also appears in those cases in which a new pet has been acquired that can have this infection without presenting symptoms”,points out Dr. Amaro.

Thus, this infection,highly contagious, it can be transmitted by direct contact with another infected person, that is, by rubbing the spores of the fungus with the scalp and hair follicles of the affected person; to pet or brush domestic animals suffering from this infection, such as rabbits, hamsters, cats or small dogs; by means of objects or surfaces that have touched infected people or animals, such as towels, clothes, sheets, brushes and combs; for having bad hygiene habits such as not washing your hair regularly; or having constantly moist skin, for example, from excessive sweating.

Main symptoms of ringworm on the scalp

Ringworm generally manifests itself as red, scaly-looking areas on the scalp that itch or sting the affected area, and sometimes inflammation, pain, fever, or oozing, as well as brittle, brittle hair with tendency to break.

Fragility and breakage of the hair shaft is observed, producing from patches with moderate scaling on the scalp with minimal hair loss, to large alopecia inflammatory reddened plaques.the specialist emphasizes on this.

In some severe cases of ringworm, an inflammation calledvolitionat the site of the infection, which consists of a soft swelling from which pus comes out and which can form a thick, yellowish crust on the scalp; can leave scars and even cause permanent hair loss.

How to stop ringworm: guidelines and treatments

To prevent, as far as possible, the appearance of ringworm on the scalp, experts recommend avoiding sharing personal cleaning items such as brushes, towels and even caps, hats or helmets, maintaining good hygiene, lending special attention to washing after cutting hair and, in the case of pets.

As Dr. Amaro points out,“the appearance of scaly patches on pets must be monitored, the relevant checks carried out and, if any type of injury is observed, go to the vet”.

Ringworm treatment, on the other hand, will includeantifungal medicationswhich are taken orally for 4-6 weeks,antifungal creamswhich are applied to the hair to prevent the spread of infection orselenium sulfide shampoosand, after the end of the treatment period, a culture must be done to confirm that the infection does not persist.

In many cases, this pathology is usually cured without complications if the patient goes to a specialist in time, so an early diagnosis is essential to help fight this infection from the beginning.concludes Dr. Amaro.

Hair, trichotillomania
EFE/Robin Utrecht

The entry What is ringworm? it was first published in EFE Salut.

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