Head Lice Infestation
David Perlstein, MD, MBA, FAAP
Dr. Perlstein received his Medical Degree from the University of Cincinnati and then completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at The New York Hospital, Cornell medical Center in New York City. After serving an additional year as Chief Pediatric Resident, he worked as a private practitioner and then was appointed Director of Ambulatory Pediatrics at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- Head lice facts
- What are head lice?
- How common is head lice infestation?
- Who is at risk for getting head lice?
- How in the world does a child get head lice?
- What do head lice look like?
- Where are head lice most commonly found?
- What are the signs and symptoms of head lice infestation?
- How is a head lice infestation diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for a head lice infestation (pediculosis)?
- My child has head lice. I don't. Should I treat myself to prevent being infested?
- Should my pets be treated for head lice?
- My child is under 2 years of age and has been diagnosed with head lice. Can I treat my child with prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs?
- What OTC medications are available to treat head lice?
- What is the prescription drug used to treat head lice?
- Are any home remedies effective at getting rid of head lice?
- Which head lice medicine is best for me?
- What are the rules with head lice medicines?
- How can I prevent head lice?
- Should household sprays be used to kill adult lice?
- Should I have a pest-control company spray my house?
- What is the prognosis of a head lice infestation?
- Patient Comments: Head Lice - Describe Your Experience
- Patient Comments: Head Lice - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Head Lice - Signs and Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Head Lice - Home Remedies
Head lice facts
- Head lice are parasites that are found on human heads. The word lice is plural for louse.
- Head lice are spread by personal contact or the sharing of combs, brushes, caps, and other clothing.
- Head lice are a common problem with preschool and schoolchildren.
- Head lice cause a tickling feeling of something moving in the hair, itching, and sores on the head.
- The affected individual, family members also infected, and the home all should be treated.
- Remember: one head louse + one head louse = two head lice = the beginning of a head-lice infection.
- Very young children should be evaluated by a health care professional before beginning medications.
What are head lice?
Head lice are parasites that can be found on the heads of people. Infection with head lice is called pediculosis. (The head louse, Pediculus humanus capitis, is different from the lice that cause body and pubic-hair infections.)
How common is head lice infestation?
Head lice infection is very common. It has been estimated that up to one in every 10 children in school acquires head lice at some time. In one study, the estimated annual cost of head lice infestations in the United States was nearly $1 billion dollars.
Who is at risk for getting head lice?
Anyone who comes in close contact with someone who already has head lice, or even their contaminated clothing and other belongings, is at risk for acquiring head lice. So it is easy to transmit head lice from one person to another. Preschool and elementary-school children (3-10 years of age) and their families are infected most often. Girls contract head lice more often than boys, and women contract more head lice than men. African-Americans rarely acquire head lice.
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