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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

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Scalp Problems

Head Lice continued...

To treat, parents can use an over-the-counter product with permethrin (Nix), pyrethrin (Rid), or spinosad (Natroba). Lice kits usually contain a special shampoo that is left on the hair for 10 minutes and then washed out, and a fine-toothed comb to remove any remaining eggs.

Another treatment is a lotion called Sklice, which doesn’t use a comb. One treatment may be all that's needed. The key ingredient is ivermectin, a powerful parasite killer. You can use it on kids as young as 6 months.

Clearing up lice also requires that you thoroughly clean house. Vacuum the rugs and furniture, and then wash all of the child's clothes, hats, bedding, and towels in hot water.  Dry-clean items you can’t wash, like stuffed animals, or seal them in plastic bags for two weeks. Experts recommend that you continue to check the hair for two to three weeks to make sure that all of the lice and nits (eggs) are gone. Use another lice kit after 10 days. This will kill any bugs that survived the first round of treatment.

Ringworm

Despite the name, ringworm has nothing to do with worms. It's an infection that leaves round, scaly, red rashes and patches of hair loss on the scalp. Ringworm is most common in children between the ages of 3 and 7, but it can affect adults, too. It’s spread through close contact or by sharing hats, clothing, towels, and combs. In rare cases, it's possible to catch ringworm from a dog or cat.

To kill the fungus, you must treat ringworm on the scalp with medications taken by mouth. Treatment may take up to 12 weeks. Using an antifungal shampoo may help reduce the risk of spreading the infection to family members and classmates. It's important for anyone who has ringworm to avoid sharing personal items like combs, hats, and towels.

If your child is taking an antifungal medicine, he’s safe to go to school. And you don’t have to cut his hair.

Folliculitis

Folliculitis is an inflammation or infection of the hair follicle, the sac that contains the root of the hair. It's usually caused by bacteria (usually staphylococcus) that find their way into the hair follicles from a nearby infection. The follicles also can be irritated from shaving, makeup, or clothing. Some people get folliculitis after taking a dip in a hot tub.

Look for small, pus-filled pimples. Some mild cases will go away without treatment, but an antibiotic can help clear up the bacteria quickly. If shaving, waxing, or plucking is the cause, you may need to hold off on these for a few weeks to allow healthy hair to grow. Be sure to keep the affected area clean, cool, and dry.

WebMD Medical Reference

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