Head Lice

Head Lice Symptoms

Although itching may be a sign of a lice infestation, most often individuals are asymptomatic. Keep in mind that although the only reliable sign of an infestation is the presence of a live louse or nymph (juvenile louse), the presence of nits may be a sign that there is or has been an active infestation.

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 infestation is very common. It has been estimated that up to one in every 10 children in school acquires head lice at some time, and there are estimates that there are well over 6 million infestations per year in the United States alone. Lice have been around since the beginning of humanity. In fact, genetic testing has determined that the human head louse has been a distinct human parasitic organism for over 70,000 years.

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. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 11/5/2015
Head Lice Pictures Slideshow: What Parents Should Know


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