DESCRIPTIONAlopecia aereata is a sudden hair loss in circular patches on the scalp. The hair loss is not accompanied by other visible evidence of scalp disease. This is not contagious. Body parts involved include hair, scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, beard, genital area, and underarm (sometimes). Alopecia aereata can affect both sexes, all ages, but is most common in children 5 to 12 years of age.
Appropriate health care includes:
Doctor's examination for a precise diagnosis.
Self-care after diagnosis.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSSudden hair loss in sharply defined circular patches. In rare cases, body hair loss may be total.
Unknown, but heredity and emotional factors, such as anxiety, may contribute to hair loss. The autoimmune system may also be involved.
Family history of alopecia aereata.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCECannot be prevented at present.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Loss of all hair.
Slow or incomplete regrowth.
Usually curable, with spontaneous new growth, in 18 months. Children with a few small patches are generally cured completely. The disorder recurs in 25% of cases.
Consider having your child wear a hairpiece or wig during the acute phase.
Continue to bathe and shampoo the child as usual.
Don't tug on normal hair close to areas of hair loss.
MEDICATIONYour doctor may prescribe topical steroids. Apply topical steroid once or twice a day unless directed otherwise. Apply immediately after bathing or shampooing for better spreading and penetration.
For scalp and groin, use only low-potency steroid products without fluorine. In special cases, your doctor may inject steroids into affectedd areas and prescribe oral cortisone drugs to take on alternate days.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK FOR SCHOOL, PRESCHOOL, OR NURSERY
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of alopecia aereata.
The following occurs during treatment:
--Hair loss increases.
--Hair loss doesn't diminish in 4 weeks.
--Areas show signs of infection (redness, swelling, tenderness, warmth) after injections.