Hair Loss From Alopecia Areata in Children: Care Instructions

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Hair follicles with and without hair

Your Care Instructions

Alopecia areata is a type of hair loss that affects the hair on the scalp or other areas of the body. It's a problem that can go away for some time and then come back. It is most common in people younger than 20. But it can happen to children and adults of any age.

The way hair is lost and grows back is different for everyone. Your child's hair may fall out in clumps and grow back over time. In rare cases, people lose all body hair.

You can treat this problem with medicine. But medicine does not always work. Medicine may be given as shots in the scalp, as pills, or as medicine you put on the scalp.

You can decide if you want to try medicine. Or you can wait and see if your child's hair grows again before you try medicine.

Losing hair can be upsetting. So it's important for your child to get support from family and friends. If your child needs more support, have him or her talk to a counselor or other professional.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • If you decide to treat your child's hair loss, use medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think your child is having a problem with his or her medicine.
  • Try hair products and styles that make hair look thicker.
  • Talk to your doctor if your child is very upset about his or her hair loss. Your child can get counseling to help.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.