Friday 23 September 2022 06:17 AM How to avoid getting ringworm from your barber trends now
Australians are being urged to ensure their hairdresser sterilises equipment between appointments after an 11-year-old boy developed ringworm following a visit to the barber.
Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin. It's usually an itchy, circular rash with clearer skin in the middle.
It often spreads by direct, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person and by contact with objects or surfaces that an infected person has come into contact with.
To avoid getting infected at the barbers, customers should ask if the haircutting equipment has been sterilised between uses.
'At the barbershop, it can spread via poorly sanitized combs or towels, and in severe cases, it can lead to permanent scarring and hair loss,' dermatologists told Men's Health.
A mother says her 11-year-old son developed ringworm on the back of his head after visiting a barber shop in Sydney. Pictured: The fungal infection seven days after he visited the store
Babircide is the most popular barbershop disinfectant, and barbers should use it to sterilise equipment between every customer to kill germs on the tools.
'The [barbicide] active ingredient of Alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride is effective at killing bacteria, fungi, and viruses,' Anthony M. Rossi, MD, dermatologist at Dermatologic, Mohs, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery told Men's Health.
He also urged those getting a haircut to check their skin before they go.
'To minimise your risk of developing any infection, make sure to cancel your appointment if you have any open or raw skin, which can increase your risk of developing an infection,' says Dr Zeichner.
Ringworm infections can be treated with anti-fungal medication over a period of time, but can be extremely embarrassing for a person if it is visible.
Iman Taleb, a microbial ecologist at the University of Melbourne says the scalp is the area most vulnerable to ringworm infection.
The academic added: 'Weeks after the start of the infection, the hair becomes brittle in the infected area and starts to fall, leaving baldy reddish patches on the scalp. The infection is, more worryingly, highly contagious.'
Pictured: Trichophyton mentagrophytes, the cause of athletes foot (tinea pedis) and scalp ringworm (tinea capitus)
The warning comes after a mother took her 11-year-old son to the store in on September 4 to get a fade haircut for his birthday, a style where the sides are shaved short, and length is left on top.
But a few days later the fungal skin infection - which causes a rash and itchiness, appeared on the back of his head where the barber had used the clippers.
She initially called the store to report what had happened and was told by a member of staff she was the third person who had rung that day with the same complaint.
'I was shocked by their cavalier attitude,' she told Daily Mail Australia.
'It was the worst case of ringworm I'd ever seen.
'It wasn't a hole-in-the-wall place. It's a franchise store located in a few locations.
'I feel angered about the blatant disregard for their responsibilities to have proper and appropriate infection control mechanisms in place.'
The mother said the salon only seemed mildly