Pediculosis - Causes, Symptoms And Signs, Treatment

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Pediculosis - Causes, Symptoms And Signs, Treatment
Pediculosis - Causes, Symptoms And Signs, Treatment

Video: Pediculosis - Causes, Symptoms And Signs, Treatment

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Video: HEAD LICE, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment. 2023, February

Pediculosis - today remains a common disease of the scalp and skin associated with infection by blood-sucking insects - lice. Usually, unsanitary conditions provoke the development of head lice or lice. The disease occurs in children's groups and social groups with low levels of hygiene.

The content of the article:

  • 1 Lice - what are they?
  • 2 How to check for lice
  • 3 What to do if lice are found
  • 4 How to deal with lice
  • 5 Pediculosis - what is important to know about head lice
  • 6 Getting rid of lice
  • 7 Using rubbing alcohol
  • 8 Vinegar for lice
  • 9 Kerosene for lice
  • 10 Dichlorvos from lice

    10.1 Medical treatment of head lice

  • 11 Other folk remedies
  • 12 What else you need to know about head lice treatment
  • 13 What's next
  • 14 TOP 15 most common myths about head lice

Lice - what are they?


Head lice are tiny insects about the size of a sesame seed (2–3 mm long), usually pale gray in color, but can sometimes be different in color.

Lice feed on a small amount of blood from the scalp. They usually die in less than a day outside the human scalp. Lice lay eggs (nits) on the hair close to the scalp. They are oval in shape (approximately 0.8x0.3 mm), and their color varies from yellow to white. Nits are attached to the hairs with a sticky substance and therefore do not slip off them. After the lice hatch from the eggs, the empty nits remain attached to the hair.

Lice live for about 28 days. They multiply rapidly, laying up to 10 eggs per day. In 12 days, an adult individual develops from the egg. This cycle can be repeated every 3 weeks if the lice are not treated.

How to check for lice

Examining your baby's head regularly is a good way to prevent lice from breeding and spreading over your baby's head.

  • Place your child in a brightly lit room.
  • Cover the table with white cloth or paper and inspect the scalp for lice and nits.

    • Live lice are difficult to find as they avoid light and move quickly.
    • Nits are small white or yellow-brown bumps that are firmly attached closer to the hair roots. The easiest way to find them is in the hair at the back of the head or behind the ears. Examine your hair carefully because nits can easily be confused with dandruff, dirt particles, or hairspray droplets.
  • Get your hair wet. Use a very thick comb to help brush out lice and nits. Comb your child's hair in small strands, and wipe the comb with a damp cloth or paper towel after each.

What to do if lice are found

If you find head lice it is best to go to the doctor. As we said, lice can be carriers of typhoid, and typhoid is not joking. Further, if the child has lice, notify the class teacher or kindergarten teachers. It is likely that the source of the infection is there and other parents should bear this in mind. Especially because head lice does not appear immediately and one child can infect an entire group before anyone notices it. Then it is worth checking the rest of the household. After that, start treatment.

How to deal with lice


It is worthwhile to clearly understand that it is impossible to "comb out" the lice - as soon as one insect remains, and soon the "population" will fully recover. Not to mention the fact that nits - lice larvae - are very difficult to mechanically rip from the hair. Therefore, it is impossible to rely on a comb, even a frequent one.

There is a wagon and a small cart of folk remedies, but they have two significant drawbacks. First, they are just aesthetically disgusting and can cause panic in a child. Well, no one likes sprinkling with kerosene or cutting their heads, especially children. Secondly, all these remedies, with the exception of hair removal, are weakly effective and all procedures will have to be repeated two or three times.

And most importantly, over the past decades, medicine has stepped forward a long time ago and created safe and fairly effective medications to combat head lice. So go first to the doctor and then to the pharmacy!

Head lice - what is important to know about head lice

Head lice feed exclusively on human blood. Every two to three hours, they arrange a "bloody meal" for themselves, digging their piercing-sucking proboscis into the scalp. The characteristic itching is caused by the saliva of the head lice, which it leaves when sucking blood.

Without human blood, lice can usually survive no longer than one day. Contrary to popular belief, head lice cannot jump or fly. They crawl from head to head when hair touches.

The shampoo just keeps the lice clean. It is still a widespread misconception that frequent shampooing will kill these little parasites. However, cosmetic shampoos do not harm lice at all. Frequent hair washing only makes the lice themselves cleaner, but does not cleanse the head of them.

Head lice are not afraid of water. Even under water, lice can firmly grasp human hair with their tenacious paws. However, since water does not enter the respiratory tract of lice, they can survive for several hours under water. It is also impossible to wash off with water and nits.

Lice cannot survive without access to human blood. The only food for head lice is human blood, which they suck from the scalp with their piercing-sucking proboscis. Parasites, as a rule, cannot survive for more than one day without their “bloody meal”. For this reason, lice almost always live in the hair and, contrary to misconceptions, do not migrate to hats, plush toys or upholstered furniture. Head lice not found on a human head are usually already dead.

Getting rid of lice

Drug / active substance / dosage form Description
Permethrin cream (1%) Apply to damp, clean hair and rinse off after 10 minutes. Approved for use in children 2 months and older.
Pyrethrin, shampoo, or hair mousse Apply to dry hair and rinse off after 10 minutes. Should not be used by people allergic to chrysanthemums.
Malathion, lotion (0.5%) Apply to dry hair and rinse off after 8-12 hours. Approved for use in children 6 years of age and older. Flammable; may cause chemical burns.
Benzyl alcohol, lotion (0.5%) Apply to dry hair and rinse off after 10 minutes. Repeat after 7 days. Contains no neurotoxic pesticides. Approved for use in children 6 months and older. Not recommended for children under 6 months of age.
Spinosad topical suspension (9%) Apply to dry hair and rinse off after 10 minutes. Approved for use in children 4 years of age and older. Not recommended for children under 6 months of age. The drug contains benzyl alcohol.
Ivermectin Lotion


Apply to dry hair and rinse off after 10 minutes. Approved as a single-use product for the topical treatment of head lice in children 6 months and older. The drug remaining after use must be destroyed or discarded - it cannot be stored.

Using rubbing alcohol


Treatment with alcohol for absolutely any disease is traditional for residents of the middle zone. Pediculosis is no exception. According to the "grandmother's" recipes, the best remedy for lice is undiluted alcohol (96%), namely an alcohol "mask" for hair and scalp. Anonymous authors of folk remedies recommend applying alcohol along the entire length of the hair, and most importantly - carefully treat the scalp with a burning composition. Next, you need to wrap the scalp of the child's head with cellophane and make him sit in place with such a "fireball" from 30 minutes to an hour. The method promises to radically remove not only adults, but also nits at a time, however, in case of special zeal and vitality of the lice, the compress can be repeated. After the procedure, it is necessary to remove the dead insects with a comb or a fine comb.

This technique is most likely based on the belief in the disinfecting properties of alcohol and the stereotype about the appearance of lice from dirt. Unfortunately, the antibacterial properties of the chemical liquid extend only to bacteria and microorganisms, which cannot be attributed to lice. But an alcohol compress is a great way to get scalp burns. Alcohol has tanning properties, and with a high dehydration of the solution (alcohol content - 70–96%) it can damage the tissues and structure of the hair. Inhalation of alcohol vapors can irritate and burn the respiratory tract. Add to this the risk of getting 96% alcohol on the mucous membrane of the eye, and independently evaluate the effectiveness of such a method to combat lice in the 21st century.

Lice vinegar

Another, less dangerous "folk" remedy for lice and nits is washing your hair with a solution of vinegar. Folk "doctors" recommend to dissolve two tablespoons of vinegar in a glass of water and moisten the hair and scalp with the liquid.

Vinegar does not kill lice and nits, but the vinegar is supposed to dissolve the “glue” that sticks the lice eggs to the hair, making brushing easier.

In addition to the dubious effect of "peeling" nits from the hair, you risk getting a skin burn, accompanied by dandruff and itching.

Kerosene for lice


A common Soviet method of dealing with head lice after a shift in a children's camp is the notorious kerosene compress. People, ashamed to go to doctors, carefully rubbed the child's head with kerosene and, for reliability, wrapped it tightly with a towel so that the parasites would surely die from the action of poisonous vapors. Nobody worried about what would become of the child during the procedure. I would like to remind you that kerosene is a product of oil distillation and is part of rocket fuel and a number of technical fluids. Kerosene is considered less toxic in comparison with other petroleum products, but is not intended for external or internal use in the treatment of any disease.

Dichlorvos from lice

One of the most radical folk methods is the fight against lice by treating the patient's head with dichlorvos. Dichlorvos is a broad-spectrum insecticide, that is, it is capable of killing any insects in everyday life. For many, this tool is probably familiar from agricultural work or the Soviet practice of fighting cockroaches.

The agent fights insects, disrupting the work of nerve cells, which leads to paralysis of adult parasites. However, the treatment of lice with dichlorvos is extremely dangerous to health and life, especially if pediculosis in a child is treated in such a brutal way.

Due to numerous side effects, less toxic, gentle substances are now used in agriculture and for controlling insects indoors. Before grabbing onto the "life-saving" spray, think about the consequences. Symptoms of dichlorvos poisoning (vomiting, dizziness, impaired motility, convulsions, rash, loss of consciousness, etc.) can appear instantly when the vapors are inhaled or after 7-8 hours when the product gets on the skin.

Medical treatment of head lice

Pediculosis - drug treatment is selected individually, depending on the degree of spread of parasites and nits, the type of lice, the patient's age, individual drug tolerance, the presence of allergies.

The drugs that kill insects are called insecticides (insecta is Latin for insect), and insecticides for lice are called pediculicides.

Recently, due to the frequent independent (not always correct) use of insecticides against lice, parasites develop resistance or resistance to them, that is, they cease to work.

Insecticide Release forms Mechanism of action When is it prescribed? How is it prescribed? Permethrin:

  • Permethrin,
  • Nittifor,
  • Medifox,
  • NOC,
  • Nyx,
  • Zebrix-Teva.
Lotion 0.5%, cream 1%, cream shampoo. They act on the nervous system of lice, paralyzing them (neurotoxic effect). Permethrin is active against adults, nymphs and nits. Recently, lice have become accustomed to permethrin, so if the procedure was ineffective, the insecticide must be replaced. Head lice and phthiriasis.

The drug is contraindicated in the case of a secondary infection on the skin as a result of scratching, severe skin lesions. With a cotton swab, the drug is applied to the hair roots or the scalp affected by pubic lice, rub in thoroughly, cover with a handkerchief. The lotion is left on for 40 minutes, and the cream for 10 minutes. After that, the hair is well washed with shampoo and dried. If single live parasites are seen again, the procedure must be repeated after 1 week. Malathion:

  • Malathion,
  • Karbofos,
  • Novaktion,
  • Pedilin
Emulsion, shampoo. It has a combined effect. In addition to affecting the parasite's nervous system, the drug passes through chitin and accumulates in the insect's body. As a result, malathion is incorporated into the lice's enzyme system and poisons it. This effect of the drug is called contact poison. Head lice. The drug kills adult lice, larvae and eggs. It is effective for severe lice and in the case of development of resistance to permethrin preparations. Shampoo is applied to wet hair, rubbed well, and then covered with a handkerchief. Leave for 5 minutes and then rinse well.

With severe lice, it is better to use two forms of the drug at the same time: first, the emulsion is applied for 30 minutes, then washed twice with shampoo, each time leaving on the hair for 3-4 minutes.

If single individuals are identified, it is necessary to repeat the procedure after one week. RID - combined preparation permitin + piperonyl butoxide Shampoo Acts on the nervous system of lice, while piperonyl butoxide acts on the enzyme system of the louse, improving the penetration of permitin. Head lice.

Acts on live individuals and nits. Shampoo is applied to the scalp, left in a scarf for 10 minutes, then washed off well. Be sure to repeat the procedure in a week. Para-plus - a combined preparation permitrin + piperonyl butoxide Spray can The drug acts on lice as a neurotoxic and contact poison, and piperonyl butoxide improves the penetration of malathion and permitrin into the body of the louse. Head lice. Active in relation to live individuals and nits. Cannot be used to treat children under 2 years of age and 6 months. Allergic reactions to the drug are possible. The aerosol is applied to the head and hair for 10 minutes, then washed with shampoo. Spray Pax - combined preparation pyrethrum extract + piperonyl butoxide Spray can Pyrethum extract is a plant component that has a neurotoxic effect on lice, and piperonyl enhances its effect. Phthiriasis (pubic lice). Cannot be used if races are infected. The entire surface of the pubis is treated, left for half an hour, then washed well with soap. Sumitrin:

  • Pyrethrin,
  • Anti-Bit
Shampoo Pyrethum extract acts on the parasite's nervous system. The drug is fortified with piperonyl butoxide. Head lice. Affects the parasites themselves and nits. Shampoo is applied twice to the scalp and hair for 3 minutes, then rinsed. Repeat the procedure after 2 days. Fenotrin, Itax, Parasidosis Foaming lotion, aerosol Has a neurotoxic effect. Head lice, does not work on nits! Fenotrin is recommended for small amounts of lice, safe for children of any age. Foaming lotion - apply to hair twice for 5 minutes, then rinse well.

Aerosol - apply generously to the scalp, especially the back of the head for half an hour. Repeat the procedure the next day. Boric ointment Ointment 5% Destroys chitin and lice digestive tube. Head lice, no effect on nits. Has many side effects. The ointment is applied to the scalp and hair for 20 - 30 minutes, then wash the hair with shampoo. Paranit Shampoo The shampoo contains essential oils that block the respiration of lice and also have a drying effect. Head lice. They act on lice, larvae and nits. Also improves scalp condition, heals scratches, improves hair condition. Safe in pediatric practice for children over five years old. Apply shampoo to scalp and hair for 15-30 minutes, then rinse. The procedure must be repeated after one week. Butadion Pills They accumulate in human blood; when lice suck such blood, they die. Head lice and head lice.

It is used in rare cases only for adults when other methods are not available or are ineffective. 0.15 g - 4 times a day - 2 days.

The latest development in the treatment of pediculosis is complexes containing dimethicones - synthetic mineral oils (Oxyfthyrin, Clearol, Isopar). It is assumed that these drugs paralyze the respiratory system of parasites, they simply suffocate. Also, mineral oils dry out lice and nits, disrupting their water exchange. The effectiveness of using these funds is still being investigated.

After treatment with any insecticides, it is imperative to remove dead parasites and nits from the scalp. For this, thick combs are used (the distance between the teeth is less than 0.4 mm). The head is conditionally divided into four sectors, and carefully comb each strand of hair. This procedure is best carried out over a white tissue, so that if any lice survived, it could be seen and mechanically destroyed the parasite.

Other folk remedies

Other traditional medicines that are no longer so dangerous and toxic include:

  • Rub cranberry juice into the head for a week to help comb out. Harmless, but ineffective, does not eliminate the need to comb out lice and nits with a comb;
  • shampooing with a decoction of mint, wild rose or wild rosemary for a week or 10 days. If the broth of mint can soothe the skin and relieve itching during combing, then wild rose and wild rosemary are poisonous plants and should be used in herbal medicine with great care and under the supervision of a specialist;
  • treatment of the head with hellebore water (hellebore tincture). This tool is considered antiparasitic, but it does not act on nits, therefore it is used in conjunction with the obligatory combing.

    Hellebore tincture is also toxic and can cause dizziness or poisoning if accidentally ingested. The use of hellebore water is also contraindicated in pregnancy and breastfeeding;

  • onion and garlic mask. The craftsmen recommend applying the gruel of these natural antiseptics to the scalp, wrapping the result in a towel, and spending an hour in this "headdress". Side effects are similar to burns from alcohol or vinegar, although without the consequences of chemical poisoning, and the result is zero;
  • decoctions of tansy flowers, sorrel and geranium oil are designed to help the combing procedure and have no independent results in the treatment of head lice, however, as well as sharp side effects;
  • washing your hair with tar and dusty soap. Birch tar soap is a traditional "folk" remedy for dandruff, acne and eczema. A high alkaline value (pH) and a comb should help him fight lice. In the case of dusty soap, everything is by no means so harmless, since dust is an extremely toxic substance for humans. Thanks to the activity of progressive doctors and the constant development of medical science, dust soap has not been used for the treatment of head lice since the 60s of the last century, but lovers of advising it are found to this day.

What else you need to know about the treatment of head lice


You should not throw away all the things that the child wore during this period. It is enough to wash in hot water everything that the child wore or used 3 days before the detection of lice and treatment: clothes, towels, hats, bedding, soft toys. Place items that cannot be washed in an airtight plastic bag for 2 weeks.

Do not spray pesticides in your home - you risk poisoning your entire family with a hazardous chemical. Moreover, this is not necessary after the treatment of the child's scalp with lice preparations.

If lice are found in a child, all family members and those who have been in close contact with him should also be checked and, if necessary, treated with lice preparations.

Some schools do not allow children who have nits in their hair to attend classes; the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American School of Nursing Association disagree with this policy and believe that a child should not skip classes due to lice and can go to school immediately after treatment special means.

What's next

After you get rid of your child's lice, you need to exclude their presence in your home. And for this you need to check for lice not only all your household, but also to process clothes, towels and bedding.

To cope with lice, it is best to wash linen at a temperature of at least 55 degrees, iron and leave to lie down without using for a couple of days.

Thus, the vast majority of insects will be destroyed by machining, and possible survivors will starve to death while the laundry is lying.

For prevention, you can also apply lavender and tea tree oil to the back of the head and behind the ears of the child - this will not save 100% of lice, but will greatly reduce the possibility of infection, since insects do not like them very much.

TOP 15 most common myths about head lice

  • Myth # 1: "Lice are a disease of the poor. " No one is protected from head lice, since even money will not help to completely isolate from the outside world.
  • Myth # 2: "Lice do not affect people with dyed hair." Lice are absolutely not tasty hair, they need skin and blood, so dyed hair is not an obstacle for them. On the other hand, with already existing head lice, hair coloring due to ammonia can partially kill parasites.
  • Myth # 3: "Lice carry HIV." Fortunately, neither lice nor other insects can transmit HIV, since the virus is very quickly destroyed by the enzyme system of lice or mosquitoes.
  • Myth # 4: "Lice love a special blood type." The blood type is absolutely not important for lice, they prefer and digest absolutely any "menu from human blood".
  • Myth # 5: "You can get lice from animals. " Animals can also have lice, but of a different species, and the causative agent of head lice - human and pubic lice, lives only on the human body, and, conversely, animal lice do not pass to us. Interesting! Many animals are characterized by a special type of lice, for example, camel, elephant, deer, seal, hare, pig lice, and so on.
  • Myth # 6: "A louse jumps or flies from one person to another." The anatomy of the lice does not allow movement in any other way, except to slowly crawl at a speed of 23 cm per minute. Therefore, lice are transmitted directly through direct contact with a sick person or care items.
  • Myth # 7: "Pubic lice are transmitted only through sexual contact." Although sexual contact is the main route of transmission of pubic lice, this type of parasite can also be picked up in public places (baths, swimming pools), as well as through contact with personal hygiene items.
  • Myth # 8: "Lice only love long hair." Lice need hair in order to cling to it and have free access to the skin, for this a hair length of 3-4 mm is sufficient.
  • Myth # 9: "Lice only love dirty hair. " But in fact, lice prefer a clear scalp, as it is easier for them to penetrate the skin without a layer of thick sebum.
  • Myth №10: «Lice penetrate into the human skin". This is also not the case, lice cannot penetrate the skin, their anatomy allows them to cling to hair or fibers of tissue, live, sleep and reproduce there, and human skin is only a "feeding trough".
  • Myth # 11: "It is believed that head lice can be completely combed out with a thick comb. " Mechanical removal of parasites and nits gives efficiency only up to 40%, while chemical methods (application of insecticides) give 98%.
  • Myth number 12: "Lice do not survive without a person." Lice can live without blood in the environment for up to one week, during which time it is very easy to find a new victim. So very often people get infected on the beach, where parasites can wait in the sand or when using "public pillows" (in children's groups, hospitals, and so on).
  • Myth No. 13: "Lice is only an unpleasant disease that violates the aesthetics of the body, and after treatment with special drugs, you can forget about them." Unfortunately, this is not the case either. In young children, pregnant women, allergy sufferers, people with reduced immunity, lice can leave complications in the form of chronic skin diseases, as well as provoke a pronounced allergic reaction. And also these parasites carry especially dangerous infections - typhus and relapsing fever.
  • Myth No. 14: "Alcohol in the blood is the best prevention against various parasites." There have been no special studies on this topic, but statistics indicate that people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs get sick even more often with head lice than people without bad habits.
  • Myth number 15: "Lice love dandruff, as they feed on the scales of the epidermis." The louse is a blood-sucking parasite; it does not feed on any other secretions and parts of the human body.

Find out more:

  • Complete cleansing of the body at home
  • Invasion in humans: varieties, signs, symptoms

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