A warning from the NHS in Britain advises against sharing hats this summer, with hair loss among the reasons it is considered a bad idea. We look closer.

 

It’s Good To Share

It’s an old saying, and one the vast majority of us try to instill in children as part of their formative development.  Get it right and you arrive at an adult who does not just think it is good to share, but one who actually takes pleasure in it.

This makes the warning from the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK all the starker. In specific regard to hats, the warning is that sharing your hat with your friend may put you at risk of a deeply unpleasant infection, albeit treatable, which can result, among other nasty symptoms, in permanent patches of hair loss. 

Tinea capitis

The culprit behind the warning is a highly contagious fungal infection. Ringworm got its name because it appears in small red rings, though it has nothing to do with the wriggly earth burrowing creature, or any other type of worm come to that. It is a fungal infection. Unfortunately, it is so easy to pass on that it can be caught by sharing a range of everyday items that we commonly share. Hats are singled out, as are pillows, combs, and towels.

Ringworm comes in five flavours, each affecting a different region of the body. Starting at the bottom, Tinea unguium can affect nails (so add gloves and socks to that list) and Tinea pedis is the type that affects the foot. If it appears on the groin it is called Tinea cruris and on the body, it becomes Tinea corporis. Finally, there is Tinea capitis, the most difficult version to treat. While the other forms of the infection can usually be treated with an over the counter anti-fungal medication, Tinea capitis, scalp ringworm as it is more commonly known, normally needs an intervention by a medical professional. Severe cases, especially when they are left untreated, can lead to scarring and that permanent hair loss we mentioned earlier.  For some people, with existing conditions like obesity or circulatory problems, can also make the condition more serious than it is for others. 

HIS Hair Clinic

The NHS estimate that between 10 and 20% of all people will catch ringworm at some point in their life. It is clearly a warning to be taken seriously. Like most fungal infections there is a spike during the warm summer months, so it would seem sensible to take precautions to avoid becoming a victim. Chief among those precautions should be a counter-intuitive approach to your personal possessions, where sharing is something you avoid at all costs. 

If you would like to discuss your hair loss situation with one of our team of friendly experts, simply complete our contact form on this page or click here to find your nearest clinic. 

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By Ian Watson

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