pediculosis capitis

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pe·dic·u·lo·sis ca·p'i·tis

the presence of lice on the scalp, seen especially in children, with nits attached to hairs.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
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pediculosis capitis

A scalp infection caused by head lice, Pediculus humanus capitis, a common parasite in children. Outbreaks are common in schools, esp. among children between the ages of 5 and 11. The infection is transmitted through use of personal items such as hair ornaments, combs, hairbrushes, hats, scarves, or coats or through direct contact between the heads of two children. Lice, which feed on blood obtained by biting the skin, cause itching, esp. around the ears, in the occipital area, and at the nape of the neck. Long-standing infestations may produce chronic inflammation. The adult louse is seen rarely; diagnosis usually is made through the presence of eggs (nits), which appear as whitish sacs attached to the hair. See: illustration


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).

Patient care

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.

See also: pediculosis
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
The commonest cutaneous manifestations seen in this study are parasitic infestations such as scabies and pediculosis capitis. The prevalence of such parasitic infestations is more in patients with psychosis when compared to neurosis because of lack of insight and self neglect.
Prevalence of Pediculosis capitis in school children.
Oral ivermectin (Stromectol[R]) is not approved by the FDA for treatment of Pediculosis capitis (CDC, 2010; Frankowski et al., 2010).
Epidemiological aspects of pediculosis capitis and treatment evaluation in primary school children in Iran.
The only factor that was statistically significantly related to pediculosis capitis was size of the household; [greater than or equal to] 6 inhabitants was associated with increased prevalence (9).
The child with pediculosis capitis. J Pediatr Health Care 2015; 29: 118-20.
Of these, scabies was present in 5% and pediculosis capitis in 2%.
The common skin morbidities among the children in the present study were Pytiriasis simplex capilliti (27%), acne vulgaris (22%), Pediculosis capitis (18%), Pytiriasis alba (14%), scabies (11%), mosquito bite allergy (3%), phrynoderma (1%), Tinea versicolor (1%).
For the school community, Pediculosis capitis, or head lice, is a time consuming, seemingly never-ending problem.
Caused by Pediculosis capitis, the infection mostly affects the back of the scalp (occipital region) or behind the ears (post-auricular).
Insecticides are the primary treatment for head lice, pediculosis capitis. Adults who resist using insecticides for their children or themselves can be told that these products are necessary to kill lice, and that those used most commonly today are pharmaceutical-grade insecticides, which have good toxicity profiles and are generally considered very safe.