Beware the Bacteria
Bacterial Infections Can Cause Hair Loss and Pain
When most people think of bacteria, they think of food becoming contaminated, or perhaps of a scraped knee or cut becoming infected. But the scalp can be vulnerable to bacterial infection, which can be extremely painful.
Folliculitis is a common type of bacterial infection of the scalp that frequently develops during warmer times of the year. Heat, humidity, perspiration, and occlusion of the scalp create an environment that makes it easier for the bacterial infections to appear. Other forms of folliculitis are caused by products used on the scalp that block the pores, and in other cases, problem sometimes shows up without an apparent reason. Most folliculitis on the scalp is caused by bacteria.
Know the Signs of Bacterial Infection
- Tenderness of the scalp is an important sign. Yes, some people are considered to be tender headed, but with bacterial infections areas of tenderness develop that are very sensitive to the touch. On closer inspection these tender areas can be found to be associated with the presence of hair bumps or pustules. If an individual is experiencing tenderness that doesn’t go away in a couple of days, it’s time to take notice.
- Pain is a giveaway something is wrong. The scalp should not be painful or sore. If you can rule out any other cause such a reaction to some product used on your hair, you may be looking at an infected scalp.
- Redness. Hair can be red. The scalp should not be. That is a sure sign of irritation, which merits some investigating. However, redness alone does not mean infection is present. Redness and itching can be associated with eczema or other inflammatory conditions of the scalp. However if the scalp is scratched to the point that open areas of skin develop then a secondary bacterial infection can develop causing pain to develop as well.
- If you see puss, it’s pretty obvious the client has an infected scalp. A head that oozes or bleeds needs medical treatment.
- A bacterial culture can be required to see what type of organism is present for extensive infections or those that have been present for an extended period of time or failed previous treatment.
Any infection should be evaluated and treated by a doctor, so don’t hesitate to get this type of problem looked at. Most of these conditions require taking oral and applying topical medications to the involved areas to get the problem to go away. Left untreated, the infection can sometimes persist for months or years and cause destruction and injury to hair follicles and baldness with scarring in advanced cases.