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Pediculosis - Symptoms and Treatment

Pediculosis is an infestation of lice which are parasitic insects on the bodies of humans. The condition is more commonly known as head lice , body lice or pubic lice . Head lice is extremely contagious and is common in children aged 3 to 12. Baby lice are called nymphs . Louse is the term used for a single insect, lice is the term used for multiple louses. The bites from these louses as they draw blood to feed on may cause itching, irritation and even infection. However, head lice do not spread diseases nor lead to any serious medical or health problems. The latin term, or medical term for head lice is pediculosis capitis. Head lice is not the same as body lice or pubic lice. The most common symptom of lice infestation is itching. Excessive scratching of the infested areas can cause sores, which may become infected. In addition, body lice can be a vector for louse-borne typhus, louse-borne relapsing fever or trench fever. Lice on the hair and body are usually treated with medicated shampoos or cream rinses. Nit combs can be used to remove lice and nits from the hair. Laundering clothes using high heat can eliminate body lice. Efforts to treat should focus on the hair or body (or clothes), and not on the home environment. Some lice have become resistant to certain (but not all) insecticides used in commercially available anti-louse products.

Pediculosis is an infestation of head lice on the hair of the head. The lice feed on human blood which can cause severe local itching. Head lice are usually located on the scalp, crab lice in the pubic area and body lice along seams of clothing which travel to the skin to feed. After the nits hatch, the lice must feed within 24 hours or die; they mature in about 2 to 3 weeks. When a louse bites, it injects a toxin into the skin that produces mild irritation and a purpuric spot. Repeated bites cause sensitization to the toxin, leading to more serious inflammation. Treatment can effectively eliminate lice.

Causes of Pediculosis

Common Causes of Pediculosis :

  • Sharing combs, brushes, hats, and other personal items.
  • Personal contact with people who may have lice.

Symptoms of Pediculosis

Some common Symptoms of Pediculosis :

  • Nits.
  • Itching .
  • Rash.
  • Skin thickening.
  • Crawling lice.

Treatment of Pediculosis

  • Pediculosis corporis requires bathing with soap and water to remove lice from the body. Lice may be removed from clothes by washing them in hot water, ironing, or dry-cleaning. Storing clothes for more than 30 days or placing them in dry heat of 140 F (60 C) kills lice. If clothes can't be washed or changed, application of 10% lindane powder is effective.
  • Treatment of pediculosis pubis includes application of a topical pediculocide. Various agents such as 0.5% malathion emulsion, permethrin cream, and lindane ointment have been used according to the patient's status and health care provider's preference. Clothes and bedsheets must be laundered to prevent reinfestation.








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