Medical Q&As

Scalp infection - causes?

I have been treating my son for what I thought was psoriasis of the scalp, but my doctor tells me it could be a fungal infection and has sent a sample away for analysis. I am relieved in one sense as it can be treated, but what causes it?

There are different species of fungi that can infect the human scalp. These fungi can infect the hair and skin but do not invade the deeper underlying tissues. Sometimes they are spread via infected combs and brushes. Sometimes they are spread by close contact with family pets. Cats and dogs are often affected by such fungi, which are easily transmitted to small children who particularly enjoy close contact with pets. Fungal infections of the scalp can be successfully treated with antifungal shampoos. It is a sensible practice to inspect a childís scalp periodically in order to detect early signs of infection or even infestation with lice. These scalp conditions are quite common especially in children. It is also a reasonable practice to have a separate hairbrush for each member of the family and to clean these brushes frequently so that they donít harbour fungi and other pests.