Eskenazi Health pediatrician
One of the most unpleasant health subjects that requires the attention of all of us is head lice, which is a parasite found on human heads and most commonly associated with schoolchildren. Head lice infestation has been around since ancient times, and it remains common today.
While the exact frequency of infections is unknown, estimates range from 6 million to 12 million cases annually. Head lice is a disturbing nuisance and not a serious disease. It is not a sign of poor hygiene. While most cases of lice are acquired outside of school, lice may be contracted easily by sharing combs, brushes or towels with others.
Children may also acquire lice while playing with others, during school activities, at slumber parties or at summer camps. Students diagnosed with live head lice do not need to be sent home early from school; they can go home at the end of the day, be treated, and return to class after appropriate treatment has begun.
If your child or anyone you know speaks of a tickling or itching feeling on their head or scalp, those are signs of a possible head lice infestation and an intensive search should begin immediately. It’s recommended that washing pillow cases and treating natural bristle hair care items that may have been in contact with the hair of anyone found to have lice should occur as soon as possible.
Whenever lice has been detected, pediatricians and parents should consider using over-the-counter medications containing 1 percent permethrin or pyrethrins as a first choice of treatment for active lice infestations.
If lice have become a chronic problem, regular checks are recommended in addition to early treatment with pediculicide, which is an inexpensive, safe over-the-counter remedy. After applying the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions, parents should follow with lice removal and wet combing.
If home remedies fail to rid the individual of lice, parents should immediately make an appointment with their pediatrician to arrange for a prescription medication. Whenever lice is located on a family member, everyone in the household should be checked immediately.
If you are in need of a pediatrician for your child or a primary care physician for yourself or anyone else, call 317-880-8687 or visit www. eskenazihealth.edu/doctors.