HEAD LICE

 

Pediculosis” can be defined as an infestation of the human body by lice. There are different types of pediculosis, according to the type of lice; at any rate, surely the most common phenomenon is head lice, caused by Pediculus humanus capiti, mainly affecting children. It is estimated that in children’s communities (schools, nursery schools, …) the problem affects between 5 and 22% of preschool and school children (aged 3 – 11) and their families, regardless of their social status or hygiene care, simply because they have more opportunities of close contacts.

There is a higher incidence among girls compared to boys, probably due to their long hair. The phenomenon is constantly increasing and represents a serious problem from a social-healthcare point of view.

Contrary to what one might think at first glance, nowadays infestations are frequent both in rich and in developing countries and there appears to be no close correlation between personal hygiene, cleanliness of home environments and the spreading of these parasites. In fact, transmission of infection takes place by direct contact with people who have already been infested or through exchange of clothing or personal belongings such as cushions, hats, scarves or combs. Lice do not survive long outside the human body.