JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
REVIEW
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Pediatric tinea capitis: recognition and management.

Tinea capitis (ringworm of the head) is the most common dermatophytosis of childhood with an increasing incidence worldwide. If suspected clinically, further diagnostic procedures, including direct microscopy and culture, should be performed. Other scalp alterations, such as seborrheic dermatitis, atopic eczema, psoriasis, alopecia areata, folliculitis, and pseudopelade, may mimic ringworm of the head and must be identified. A proven fungal infection of scalp skin and hairs warrants immediate initiation of systemic treatment. At present, only oral griseofulvin is approved for therapy of scalp ringworm in children by health authorities. However, the advent of several newer antifungal agents such as itraconazole, fluconazole, and terbinafine has broadened the therapeutic armamentarium in recent years. These agents offer shorter treatment intervals, and their adverse effects and drug interaction profiles appear to be well within acceptable limits. In patients with tinea capitis, systemic therapy at weight-dependent dosages for an appropriate amount of time in conjunction with topical supportive measures will help to prevent disfiguring hair loss, permanent formation of scar tissue, spread of fungal organisms to other cutaneous regions, and infection of other persons.

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