By Kehinde Victoria Adegbiyi
What are fungi?
The Encarta Dictionaries defines Fungus (singular form) as a spore-producing organism, a single or multicellular organism without chlorophyll that reproduces by spores and lives by absorbing nutrients from organic matter. Fungi include mildews, molds, mushrooms, rusts, smuts and yeasts.
The Encarta Dictionaries also describes hair as strands growing on head or body and also, as the mass of fine flexible protein mass of growth from follicles on the skin of a person or animal especially those on the head.
kinds of hair fungi infection
- Tinea Capititis (Ringworm)
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Scalp psoriasis
Tinea Capititis is the most common type of fungal infection especially among children of school age due to lack of personal hygiene which children usually do not give importance to. It is a communicable disease which is easily transferred from an infected person to an uninfected person.
Tinea Capititis (Ringworm) is widely known among the Yoruba ethnic group of western Nigeria as Lapalapa, the name is a description of the look of the infected area (the round and ring shape). Medical research reveals that scalp ringworm is not caused by a worm as suggested by the name. It is caused by a Fungus called dermatophytes.
Ringworm (Tinea capititis) can be transmitted through contact with an infected person, fallen infected hair or contaminated objects. These may include objects such as instruments from the barbershop, hats, hairbrushes bedding and clothing. A contact alone with one of these carriers may not be enough to cause an infection but in a case where the scalp is scratched or tightly braided, spores can enter the layer of the skin. In which dermatophytes invade and digest the tissue’s keratine as the organisms grow. The fungi attack the outer layer of skin on the scalp and the hair shaft.
The patient suffering from Tinea Capititis may report symptoms such as:
- Itching, which can be mild or severe or none.
- Development of bumps and wounds having the shape of a circle or ring.
- Redness of the scalp
- Inflammation of the affected area.
- Lesions may get filled up with pus.
- Dark spots on the scalp
- Bald patches on the scalp
Usually, it appears as a small area, the size of a pea, the area will grow outwards on the scalp in a circle or ring shape.
Antifungal tablets in combination with antifungal shampoo and or cream can be used in treating ringworm affecting the scalp. There are two main types of antifungal tablet.
The type to be prescribed for an infected person depends on the type of fungi causing the infection.
Although antifungal shampoo and or cream cannot cure ringworm of the scalp, but it helps to prevent the infection from spreading and may speed up recovery. Antifungal shampoo and or cream should be used twice a week during the first two weeks of treatment.