The Child With Pediculosis Capitis

Robert J. Yetman, MD


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

In This Article


  • Parents should be educated on true findings associated with lice infestation to avoid misdiagnosis due to contact or seborrheic dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, insect bites, or fungus. Encourage involvement of the health care professional to correctly make the diagnosis so appropriate treatment can be initiated (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013, Frankowski and Bocchini, 2010, Meinking and Taplin, 2011).

  • Attempts to determine local resistance patterns may be helpful. Generally, high rates of resistance to over-the-counter medications limit their usefulness.

  • Work with local schools to eliminate inappropriate "no nit" policies that preclude student attendance if nits are present in the hair. The AAP (2012)), the National Association of School Nurses (Pontius & Teskey, 2011) and the American School Health Association (2005)) have recommended abandonment of "no nit" policies.

  • Teach families control measures:

    • Wash in hot water (or dry clean) all recently used clothing, hats, bedding, and towels

    • Wash in hot water all combs, brushes, hair clips, and the like that may have been exposed to the affected hair

    • Place items that cannot be washed or dry cleaned in sealed bags for 2 weeks

    • Have other family members evaluated for the presence of live lice or nits so that all affected family members can be treated simultaneously

    • See the Box for parent resources