Symptoms and causes

Symptoms and causes

Head lice

Head lice is a contagious skin infection with a blood-sucking parasite (pediculus humanus capitis). You can get infected through hair-to-hair contact with another person who has head lice. Usually, it is seen in school children who play closely together. It is unclear whether lice can also be transmitted through clothing.

The main symptom people experience is itching on the scalp. When you check the scalp, you can see white specks that stick to the hairs. These are the eggs or nits. Sometimes, you can also see a louse moving in the hair.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis and treatment

Head lice

The diagnosis is made based on what the physician sees with the naked eye. A dermatologist may sometimes also take a look with a dermatoscope.

For head lice, the first-choice treatment is still the 'wet-comb technique'. The hair is combed thoroughly every day with a lice comb when it is wet. Conditioner can be used, if necessary. This may be insufficient, in which case special anti-lice medication will be prescribed.

Treatment centres and specialisations

Treatment centres and specialisations
Dermatology
Paediatrics

Latest publication date: 14/12/2022
Supervising author: Dr Van Autryve Els, Dr Degraeuwe Jelle