The Child With Pediculosis Capitis

Robert J. Yetman, MD


J Pediatr Health Care. 2015;29(1):118-120. 

In This Article


Physical Examination

  • Careful inspection of the hair is need for proper diagnosis

    • Definitive diagnosis

      • Finding a live louse or nymph on the scalp or head

    • In a patient who has been treated for lice, nits attached more than 1 cm from the scalp typically are nonviable, although in warmer climates viable nits may be found up to several inches from the scalp (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013, Frankowski and Bocchini, 2010, Paller and Mancini, 2011)

  • Careful evaluation for secondary bacterial infection is warranted

    • Secondary bacterial infection is uncommon in the United States, but streptococcal or staphylococcal pyoderma is possible

    • The pyoderma often improves upon the treatment of the head lice even without the use of antibiotics (Meinking & Taplin, 2011)

Laboratory Studies

  • Laboratory studies typically are not needed