My son (9 years old) and daughter (4 years old) develop ringworms on their scalp and skin. What kind of treatment is good for their cure?

Contrary to popular belief ring worm or tinea is not caused by a worm but is a fungal infection. Tinea capitis is a scalp infection that typically causes bald patches. It is commonly called ringworm because of the ring-like shape that appears at the infected area. This infection normally affects children and is quite contagious. It spread through direct or indirect contact or by using the comb, brush or hat of an infected person.

It's important to consult a doctor to determine a ringworm infection. The doctor may take cells from the infected area to test for fungal spores. Once detected, the doctor would prescribe oral medications along with antifungal creams, lotions or shampoos. Oral medications are needed to fight the infection from inside out. You could also ask the doctor to prescribe medicines to reduce the itchy sensation that could be bothering your children. It's important that the children not scratch the area, as it will cause hair loss, spread of the infection, and delay recovery.

Over-the-counter shampoos specifically meant to treat ringworm are available. These contain selenium sulfide or zinc pyrithione that are effective in fighting tinea capitis. However, depending on the degree of the infection you may need to use a prescriptive-strength shampoo. Make sure to use the shampoo as per doctor's advice. If you have not consulted a doctor, carefully read and follow the instructions on the package. Use the shampoo two to three times per week for as long as indicated on the package, or at least for a month. Even if the infection is no longer visible, it could still be present, so it's best to follow the full course of the medication. Wait for the hair to grow back before discontinuing external medicines. You could also use some of the following alternative home remedies that are effective in curing ringworm. Extract the juice from some garlic pods and apply it to the affected area. This should be done twice a day. Alternately, rub a few drops of coconut oil over the affected area, at least three times per day. You could also extract the juice or raw papaya or mash some papaya and apply this to the affected parts of the scalp, three times a day. Papaya seeds are also effective in eliminating ringworm. Crush the seeds and apply the paste onto the scalp. Please note that home remedies usually take a little longer to cure an infection than over-the-counter prescriptions.

answered by G M

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