Pediculosis capitis, commonly known as head lice, most commonly affects preschool and elementary school-aged children.  The condition is benign; head lice does not transmit any disease agent.  However, it does cause severe scalp itching and missed school days; a truly hair pulling experience for parents (no pun intended)!

Lice is transmitted by direct contact with the head of an affected person.  Lice crawl; they cannot hop or fly.  A mature female louse can lay up to 10 eggs a day.  Eggs typically hatch in a week.  Untreated, the cycle repeats every 3 weeks.  

Lice is diagnosed by seeing live lice or nits (empty egg casings) in the hair.  Adult head louse are approximately the size of a sesame seed.  Nits are typically found 1 cm from the scalp and are firmly attached to the hair shaft.

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Silver Spring Pediatrics
Drs. DeConcini, Schooler, Zang, Wang, Yee & Marcus