The cause of favus is generally malnutrition and a general debility. It is not so contagious as common ringworm. The internal remedies are cod liver oil and iron, and plenty of fatty food. The hair should be cut as close to the head as possible, and the crusts should be saturated with oil which should be allowed to remain for twenty-four hours, the head being meanwhile covered with an oiled silk cap. The crusts can then generally be raised, and when the head is quite free from them it should be washed with juniper-tar soap and warm water, and after being dried the diseased hairs should be extracted by means of special forceps, and carbolic ointment applied.
Kerion is an affection sometimes confounded with common ringworm. It is a suppurative inflammation of the hair follicles of the scalp resulting in destruction of the pulp and subsequent fall of the hair. It is popularly known as " scald head," as it appears in inflamed-looking patches like those which result from a scald.
In a few days these patches swell considerably and become very painful, a thick, honey-like fluid proceeding from them. Kerion is a disease of childhood and youth; it is rarely seen in the adult. Internal treatment is always indicated, tonic remedies, such as quinine, iron, and cod-liver oil, all being appropriate. The parts affected should be washed with warm water and juniper-tar or carbolic acid soap, and afterwards the patches may be treated by applying tar or sulphur ointment. When a soothing application is necessary, the benzoated ointment of oxide of zinc will be found useful.
Eczema of the scalp is an exceedingly troublesome affection, and, unfortunately, is apt to be recurrent. A thick, greasy crust forms upon the scalp and the hair becomes matted together. Underneath the crust the skin is red and inflamed, and frequently there is an unpleasant odour which makes this affection peculiarly disagreeable. Excellent remedial results are often obtained by using preparations of tannin to the scalp. The following ointment should be made up:
Pulv. acid tannin.................
Ung. acquae rosae...............
This should be well prepared, grinding up the tannin with the glycerine of tannin before adding the ointment and carbolic acid.
The scalp should be thoroughly covered with this ointment morning and night, and oftener, if necessary. After two days some of the ointment is wiped off gently, and the scalp is then washed with the following preparation:
This is to be squirted upon the scalp with a hair dropper or pen filler, hot water being added with the fingers, and rubbed until a lather is formed. The scalp is then well rinsed with hot water, and thoroughly dried with hot towels. The ointment is then to be re-applied and kept on. The next washing may be in three or four days, and then again four or five days later, the ointment kept on thoroughly in the meantime.
After a final washing, the scalp is generally in very good condition, and the health of the patient must then be well looked after, as the affection is most liable to recur when the system is below par. It may, in fact, be laid down as a general rule that in all scalp diseases careful attention should be paid to building up the system and improving the condition of the health.
The Treatment for Pediculi
This article would not be complete without a few words on the subject of pediculi. This unfortunate affection is so frequently found in the scalps of children, even when perfect cleanliness has been observed, that some hints regarding its curative treatment are rendered necessary. It is exceedingly contagious, and any child whose head is found to be infected with pediculi should therefore be removed from association with others until cured.
Begin the treatment by washing the head with carbolic soap and hot water. After drying, the hair should be combed with a small-tooth comb to remove as many of the pediculi as possible. This done, the following preparation should be well rubbed into the scalp and sponged upon the hair:
Infusion of quassia (concentrated)..................
Borax. in powder..................
Dissolve the camphor in the spirit and the other ingredients in the water; then mix the two solutions.
The small "nits," or eggs, which are attached to the hair shafts can be destroyed by sponging the hair with methylated ether. This must be done in the open air, and in a place far from any fire or light. Ether vapour is dangerously inflammable, and will travel considerable distances. Repeat this treatment for three days.