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Pediculosis (Lice)

Muhammad M. Hossain, DO and Sangili Chandran, MD, MS(ortho) Reviewed 06/2019
 


BASICS

DESCRIPTION

  • A contagious parasitic infection caused by ectoparasitic blood-feeding insects (lice)

  • Two species of lice infest humans:

    • Pediculus humanus has two subspecies: the head louse (var. capi...

DIAGNOSIS

HISTORY

  • Pruritus is common, often worse at night.

  • Often associated with “outbreak” in school settings

  • Investigate contacts of infected individuals.

PHYSICAL EXAM

  • Diagnosis is confirmed by visuali...

TREATMENT

GENERAL MEASURES

  • Head lice: Clean items that have been in contact with the head of the infected individual within 48 hours.

  • Wash all bedding, towels, clothes, headgear, combs, brushes, and hai...

ONGOING CARE

FOLLOW-UP RECOMMENDATIONS

Children may return to school after completing topical treatment, even if nits remain in place. No-nit policies are unnecessary. 

Patient Monitoring

Drug resistance...

REFERENCES

1
Devore CD, Schutze GE; for Council on School Health and Committee on Infectious Diseases, American Academy of Pediatrics. Head lice. Pediatrics.  2015;135(5):e1355–e1365. [View Abstra...

ADDITIONAL READING

CODES

ICD10

  • B85.0 Pediculosis due to Pediculus humanus capitis

  • B85.1 Pediculosis due to Pediculus humanus corporis

  • B85.3 Phthiriasis

  • B85.2 Pediculosis, unspecified

  • B85.4 Mixed pediculosis and phthiriasis

ICD9

CLINICAL PEARLS

  • School-based no-nit policies are not necessary because empty nits may remain on hair shafts for months after successful eradication.

  • Improper product application is a common cause of tr...

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