Infestation with lice is very common. Cases of this type of parasitosis are in the hundreds of millions every year worldwide.

Although sometimes these parasites can lead to the development of serious disease such as typhus, relapsing and trench fever.

But they are more likely to cause annoying itching and discomfort than to be a serious medical problem. There are three separate infections with these parasites, and each is caused by separate parasites.

The head louse Pediculus humanus capitis is the most common parasitosis of this species and can affect all people, regardless of their lifestyle and socio-economic status.

A genetically close “cousin” of the head louse is the body louse Pediculus humanus corporis, and its occurrence is associated with poverty, overcrowding and poor hygiene.

A louse does not jump and does not fly from one host to another and cannot be transmitted by an animal, but it can be transferred from an infected person to another, both by direct contact and by touching with infested objects, most often personal belongings – for example, hats, combs, sheets, etc.

When should we seek medical attention?

Although this type of parasite responds well to home treatment methods, call your GP if:

• Skin or scalp infections develop due to scratching with symptoms such as oozing discharge or some fluid from the skin, redness, swelling, pain or increased sensitivity.
• If home treatment methods do not work desired result;
• If itching persists after treatment with over-the-counter antihistamines;
• If parasite infestation increases;

When to go to the hospital?

• If the infection caused by scratching does not respond to medication and continues to progress, or if symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea and vomiting develop ;
• If you develop an allergic reaction to medicines which is manifested by a rash, swelling of the lips or tongue or if you feel that it is difficult to breathe;

Treatment for head lice

• Look for the parasites on the head when your hair is wet, so use a thick comb, a light colored band to hold the hair and collect nits at the same time, a magnifying glass and a strong light .

A comb that is used to remove fleas from dogs and cats will do the job and remove head lice, but you must disinfect it very well before using it on your scalp or your child.

• Wet brushing should be done every 2 to 3 days over a period of about 2 weeks. The entire scalp should be checked, not just the neck area.

• If parasites are found, treat with a preparation against this type of parasites, and its application is repeated every 7-10 to destroy the newly hatched nits.

• An over-the-counter preparation should be used first. If after 2 applications, more parasites remain, it may be necessary to prescribe stronger anti-lice preparations.

Apply the antiparasitic agent to dry hair and leave it on as directed on the leaflet, usually for 10 minutes.

Apply shampoo to hair and rinse, using a wide comb to comb through as you rinse. Repeat the procedure after 7-10 days of the procedure to destroy nits that may have already hatched.

• Preparations against this type of parasites are permethrin 1% and pyrethrin products, most often in the form of shampoos.

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