PEDICULOSIS CAPITIS (Head Lice)
This patient information on Orlando Head Lice Treatments, PEDICULOSIS CAPITIS is provided by John L. Meisenheimer, M.D. a board certified Dermatologist and skin care specialist based in Orlando, Florida. This information is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice or treatment of a dermatologist or other physician.
What is it? Pediculosis capitis is a common infestation of the scalp. In general terms this disorder is known as "head lice". It can occur at any age, but it is more frequently seen in children. Typically it appears as red itchy bumps on the back of the neck and scalp. Careful examination of the hairs will reveal the lice (they often look like moving dandruff) and their egg cases called nits.
What causes it? Lice are insects that infest the hair. Adult lice live on the hair, and they climb down to feed on the scalp four to five times a day. Females lay about six eggs (nits) a day which they cement to the hair shaft.
Don't only "dirty" people get lice? Head lice infestation is not a sign of poor hygiene or poverty. I have seen lice on millionaires and on some of the most fastidiously clean people that I have ever met.
Is it dangerous? For the typical healthy person pediculosis capitis is a harmless infestation.
Can it be cured? It is easily cured with treatment, but reinfestation can occur. Nits remaining attached to hair after treatment are not alive and they will fall off with time.
How is it diagnosed? It is easily diagnosed with examination of the hair. Lice and or eggs can be seen with the naked eye.
Will it spread? Head lice stay on the head.
Is it contagious? Pediculosis capitis is very contagious. You get lice by close contact with objects that are easily infested like combs, hats, clothing and linen. All close contacts that are infested must be treated at about the same time in order to prevent reinfestation.