Tinea capitis is a fungal infection of the skin on the scalp that usually occurs in children. The fungi usually come from the Trichophyton, Microsporum and Epidermophyton families. It is caught by close contact with another infected human or animal (e.g. cat, dog).
The child develops an irregular, relatively bald patch on the scalp covered in a fine scale and broken hair stubble (the fungi invades the hairs and causes them to become fragile and break). A severely affected patch may develop a thick build-up of scale and form a fungal abscess (kerion).
The diagnosis can be proved by taking a skin scraping or hair sample, and examining it under a microscope for fungal spores. Ultraviolet light (Wood’s light) in an otherwise dark room will cause a bright green fluorescence of hair and skin affected by a fungus.
Antifungal ointments, lotions, tinctures and shampoos are all very effective treatments.