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PEDICULOSIS HEAD LICE Margaret Jahn, MS, MPH Freehold Health Dept.

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Presentation on theme: "PEDICULOSIS HEAD LICE Margaret Jahn, MS, MPH Freehold Health Dept."— Presentation transcript:

1 PEDICULOSIS HEAD LICE Margaret Jahn, MS, MPH Freehold Health Dept.

2 GOALS Learn about head lice – WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE & HOW Biology Treatment Diagnosis Prevention & control

3 HEAD LICE Infestation of Pediculus capitis Parasitic insect Hair, eyebrows & eyelashes Excessive itching & scratching Universal susceptibility Unrelated to hygiene

4 HEAD LICE VERY common Affects children 3-11yrs Est million infestations annually Spread from head-to-head contact Feed on blood from scalp DO NOT SPREAD DISEASE! Nuisance!

5 BIOLOGY 101 Life cycle – 3 stages – Egg, nymph and adult

6 EGGS Called “Nits” Laid by adult female Cemented to base of hair (6 mm from scalp) Hard to see Resemble dandruff ~ 1 week to hatch


8 NYMPHS Hatch from eggs Look like adult louse Mature after 3 molts ~ 1 week

9 ADULTS Size of sesame seed 6 legs with claws Females larger Lay up to 8 nits per day 30 day life span 2-3 meals of blood/day Die 1-2 days off scalp


11 RISK FACTORS Not related to cleanliness!! Common transmission head-to-head – Home – School – Elsewhere (camp, sports, playground etc.)

12 RISK FACTORS Uncommon transmission – Sharing clothing, hair ribbons – Using infested combs, brushes, towels – Lying on a bed, couch etc. recently in contact with infested person

13 DIAGNOSIS Misdiagnosis – VERY common Look for live insects Nits not always reliable – Easily confused with dandruff, hair spray etc. Nits >1/4 inch from scalp – old

14 TREATMENT ONLY FOR ACTIVE INFESTATION! Check household members & contacts Treat all at same time Supplemental measures

15 TREATMENT Over-the-counter medication FDA approved Pyrethrins or permethrins READ LABEL Do not re-wash hair for 1-2 days Check 8-12 hrs after tx – Slower moving, comb dead – No dead – call healthcare provider

16 Bedding, towels & clothing – With in 2 day period – Launder in hot water & dry – Place in plastic bag for 2 weeks Vacuum furniture and floors of infested hair SUPPLEMENTAL

17 CDC RECOMENDATIONS Students remain in school if Dx during day Children return to school after treatment Nits still present? – O.K. as long as no crawling/ live insects – Burdensome absenteeism – Nits not easily transferred – Misdiagnosis common if not by health provider

18 Freehold Township School Policy

19 REMEMBER! WE ARE HERE TO HELP Freehold Health Department


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