pediculosis(redirected from Lice infestations)
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pediculosis/pe·dic·u·lo·sis/ (pĕ-dik″u-lo´sis) infestation with lice of the family Pediculidae, especially Pediculus humanus.
pediculosisInfestation with lice. See Louse.
pediculosis(pe-dik?u-lo'sis) [? + Gr. osis, condition]
Itching and eczematous dermatitis. In long-standing, neglected cases, scratching may result in marked inflammation. Secondary infection by bacteria may occur, with formation of pustules, crusts, and suppuration. Hair may become matted and malodorous.
Therapies for lice infestations are modified frequently, to match the resistance of lice to current therapies and to minimize the toxicities of medications. Manual removal of lice always is appropriate and is strongly recommended by lice specialists. Others recommend the use of insecticides (pediculocides).
The patient and family are taught how to apply medication (lindane, permethrin, pyrethrins, piperonyl butoxide, malathion) to dry hair for lice and are warned that the eyes should be immediately flushed with copious amounts of water if the medication accidentally contacts them. They are informed about minimizing the spread of infection by washing or dry cleaning all clothing and linen used in the home, delousing of rugs and upholstered furniture with sprays or vacuuming, keeping combs and brushes separate, and using medicinal shampoos if there has been contact with the patient.
Infestation with body lice is marked by intense itching, esp. on the neck, trunk, and thighs. Tiny hemorrhagic points identify the bites. Generalized excoriation, mild fever, and fatigue characterize heavy infestations. In severe cases, pustules may develop.
The patient first bathes with hot soap and water and then applies prescribed creams containing approved pesticides to affected areas.
The patient should be assessed for diseases that body lice may transmit. If the patient is homeless or impoverished, social services agencies should be contacted to assist him or her to find shelter and clean clothing. If the patient lives with others, close personal contacts or family members should be screened for lice. All clothing, furniture, rugs, and bedding must be washed with hot water or dry cleaned. To prevent transmission of pediculosis among hospitalized patients, all high-risk patients should be examined for evidence of hair or body lice infestation on admission. Health care professionals should be careful to include older adults who are dependent on others for care, those coming from nursing homes or other assisted living facilities, and people living in crowded conditions.