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What is pediculosis?

Pediculosis is an infestation with lice, specifically the head and body louse Pediculus humanus.  It is commonly referred to as “Head Lice”.

The infestation can be comprised of eggs, larvae or adult lice which, if they are not sufficiently treated, can produce dermatological complications on the scalp. Pediculosis is particularly common among children, although it can affect people of all ages.

When a louse feeds on blood through the scalp, it injects a toxin that is irritating and an anticoagulant. Subsequence scratching can then cause head injuries that in turn can become infected or generate more serious problems.

How is pediculosis spread?

Lice have neither legs that allow them to jump nor wings to fly – they “walk”.  The only way to get head lice is by direct contact either head-to-head or by shared garments.

What are the symptoms of pediculosis?

The most common symptom is itching at the back of the head and around the ears. To detect a case of pediculosis in a person, you should check the scalp, separating the hair neatly tuft by tuft, under a good light (ideally sunlight), looking for adult lice or their eggs.

What is the treatment for pediculosis?

If lice are detected in a child or adult, it is very important to use an appropriate treatment that is not toxic or dangerous to the patient.  Ideally, you should consult either a pediatrician or a dermatologist who will be able to prescribe the most appropriate treatment to eliminate both the adult population of lice and their offspring (eggs).  It is not necessary to cut the infected hair off the head!

For cases where pediculosis has been detected we advise you:

  • To wash used clothing during the day with hot water.
  • To vacuum the car seats.
  • To change bedding and wash it with hot water.
  • To wash toys that are regularly used.
  • To wash the combs and brushes of daily use with hot water.
  • To not share combs, hair bands, headbands, scarves, shirts, caps, etc.
  • To wear your hair in a pony-tail, hair-knot or braids.
  • To do a weekly hair revision.


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