Signs You Might Have Scalp Ringworm or Fungal Infection

Ringworm or Tinea capitis is actually not an infection caused by a worm, but by fungi species called Trichophyton as well as Microsporum. This type of fungal infection is one of the most common infections among children, accounting for about 92.5% of the cases. Although rare, adults can also get ringworm since this fungal infection is very contagious.

Mode of Transmission

Ringworm is transmitted through direct contact. You only have to have contact with an infected person, and the fungus can be transferred to your skin. You can also get ringworm by touching a contaminated object or touching an infected animal.

Ringworm typically affects the groin area, resulting in jock itch, and extends down the inner thighs and buttocks. It can also affect the foot, resulting in athlete’s foot or Tinea pedis. It is also not uncommon for ringworm to develop on the scalp and cause Tinea capitis.

Signs of Ringworm

Scalp ringworm is frequently confused with severe dandruff since there is flaking of dead skin. It may also be mistaken for another skin condition called psoriasis due to the development of scaly, bald patches.

What differentiates scalp ringworm though from these other skin conditions are the following symptoms:

  • The patches are round and scaly in appearance with hair loss in the middle. What hairs remain on the patches are often broken off and very brittle.
  • Some pustules or painful boils may be present on the scalp.
  • There may also be the presence of kerion. These are crusty swellings that are not only very tender to the touch but may also ooze with pus.
  • The affected areas on the scalp are itchy and painful as well.
  • A low-grade fever may also accompany severe scalp ringworm.
  • If you palpate along the neck, specifically under the jaws and behind your ears, you will notice that your lymph nodes are swollen and tender.

If you have these symptoms, in addition to flaking of dead skin cells and scaly, bald patches, you might have scalp ringworm. If these symptoms are present, you need to have it treated immediately to prevent its progression and avoid infecting others as well.


Tinea Capitis. URL Link. December 5, 2017.