Table of Contents
- 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)?
- What is the treatment for a head lice infestation (pediculosis)? (Continued)
- 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 prescription drugs 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?
- Is it possible to prevent head lice?
- Should household sprays be used to kill adult lice?
- Should I have a pest-control company spray my house to get rid of lice?
- What is the prognosis of a head lice infestation?
Quick GuideHead Lice Treatment, Symptoms and Pictures
What are the signs and symptoms of head lice infestation?
The signs and symptoms are
- a tickling feeling of something moving in the hair;
- itching (caused by the an allergic reaction to the bites);
- sores on the head (caused by scratching);
- these sores on the head can sometimes become infected;
How is a head lice infestation diagnosed?
Head lice can be detected by looking closely through the hair and scalp for nits, nymphs, or adults. Locating a nymph or adult may be difficult; there are usually only a few of them, and they can move quickly from searching fingers. However, the presence of nits close to the scalp confirms that a person is infested. If the nits are located more than ¼ inch from the scalp, the infestation is probably an old one. If you are not sure whether or not a person has head lice, the diagnosis should be made by a health-care professional, school nurse, or a professional from the local health department or agricultural extension service. The nits of head lice are easily visible with a microscope. Continue Reading
American Academy of Pediatrics. "Pediculosis Capitis (Head Lice)." Red Book, 28th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2009.
Chosidow, O. "Oral Ivermectin Versus Malathion Lotion for Difficult-to-Treat Head Lice." New England Journal of Medicine 362 Mar. 2010: 896-905.
Devore, C., and G. Schutze. American Academy of Pediatrics. "Head Lice. A Clinical Report: Guidance for the Clinician in Rendering Pediatric Care." Pediatrics 135.5 May 2015: e1355-1365.
Feldmeier, H. "Pediculosis Capitis: New Insights Into Epidemiology, Diagnosis and Treatment." Eur J Clin Microbiolo Infect Dis. Mar. 2012.
Frankowski, Barbara and Joseph A. Bocchini Jr. "Clinical Report: Head Lice, a Policy Update." Pediatrics 126.2 Aug. 2010: 392-403.
Gunning, K., K. Pippitt, B. Kiraly, and M. Sayler. "Pediculosis and scabies: treatment update." American Family Physician 86.6 Sept. 2012: 535-541.
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Head Lice." Sept. 24, 2013. <http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/>.
4. "Male human head louse" by Gilles San Martin
6. "Bugbuster" by Thanks for the polite permission of the Community Hygiene Concern, Joanna Ibarra
10. Getty Images
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Children's Health & Parenting Newsletter