Monday, December 27, 2010

Common Questions About Pediculosis

Pediculosis, also known as headlice, is a very common condition throughout the world. Head lice have been a part of human existence since prehistoric times, and these days it is no different.
Pediculosis can be found in every country, culture, and social class, almost without exception.
Below you will find some of the most commonly asked questions about pediculosis -head lice.

What exactly is pediculosis?
Pediculosis is a condition of infestation by very small insects that can be found on the heads and in the hair. it is not the same as body lice.

Just how common is lice infestation?
Pediculosis is very common; actually, it has been estimated that 1 out of every 10 children will become infested with head lice at some point, while attending school.

Are my children at risk for getting head lice?
Unfortunately, anyone who has close contact with someone who is already infested with head lice can get it. In addition, all you have to do is come in close contact with the belongings of an infested person in order to become infested with this parasite. This includes personal belongings such as coat, scarf, comb, towels, pillows, etc. Children that are preschool, or elementary school age, are the individuals who become infested most often.

I'm not sure of what I am looking for when I examine my child's head. What do head lice look like?
When examining someone's head for a pediculosis infestation, you will be looking for three different types of lice. There are the nits, which are the eggs of the lice, the nymph, which are the babies that have hatched, and finally there is the adult.

Nits: The eggs are often hard to see, but you will find them attached to the hair shaft. They are oval in shape, and usually yellow to white in color. Lice eggs take about one week to hatch after being attached to the hair shaft.
Nymph: These are baby lice, and they will look like a smaller version of the adult. Once the baby lice hatch, they will grow into adults within 7 days.
Adult Lice: The adult lice are approximately the size of a very small seed, and tend to be gray-white or tan in color. The adult females will begin laying eggs on the hair shaft, and with a lifespan of 30 days, the lice will greatly multiply in a short period of time. These insects must feed off of human blood to survive, which leads to the irritating itch experienced by the infested person.

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