Head lice or pediculosis is a skin infestation by tiny wingless insects. They spread easily from person to person by body contact and shared clothing, brushes, and other personal items. There are three species that inhabit different parts of the body.
Pediculus humanus capitis infests the scalp hair. The infestation is spread by personal contact and sharing hats, brushes, combs, and other personal items. They are a common affliction of school children of all social levels. They are less common among blacks.
The infestation of
causes severe itching in the infested areas. Bacterial infections may occur in broken skin caused by intense scratching. Children may hardly notice the lice. They may only have a vague scalp irritation.
The insect itself are sometimes hard to find. However, their eggs are freely noticeable. Female lice lay shiny grayish white eggs or nits. They are seen firmly stuck to hairs near their base. They may be found some distance from the scalp with chronic scalp infestations. The nits are identified from other materials present on the hair shaft by their strong stickiness to the shaft.
Close View of a Head Louse Approximately .1 Inch in Size, USA
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