Bengaluru: Doctors in the city are puzzled by an increase in cases of fungal scalp infections among the city’s schoolchildren. The infection, tinea capitis or ringworm, spreads through head to head contact or from pets to humans and delay in treatment could even lead to hair loss.
“I am seeing so many cases of school going children with scalp infections ranging from mild to severe intensity and sadly many go to general physicians, who administer them steroids, which do not work and only aggravates the condition,” says Dr Sachith Abraham, Consultant Dermatologist and HOD at the dermatology department Manipal Hospital. "In many cases such infections happen out of the blue and for many children it is because of head to head contact.”
As part of the infection the scalp develops red, scaly and dry ring like patches. It is common among children. “We are witnessing to 3-4 cases of tinea capitis daily, which is treatable with anti-fungal applications and tablets,” said Dr Leelavathy, Head of Department, Dermatology, Bowring Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI). She advised children to maintain hygiene. “Since it is a fungal infection it can spread from head to head and also from pets to humans,” she added.
Sadly, many parents take their children to general physicians or child specialists for first hand treatment who administer steroids, which only aggravates the situation. “By mistake many physicians administer steroids to the areas and it flares up the infection. Hence the diagnosis should be done correctly and there is no need for steroid creams and lotions. It can be easily treated with antifungal tablets,” advises Dr Sachit.
Unfortunately many children approach doctors after the damage is done. “We see many cases where the steroid has already damaged the scalp and it makes it more scaly and inflamed. But, if patients avoid treatment for long it might result in permanent scarring or even hair loss,” Dr Sachit summed up.