The skin is open to attack by all manner of naturally occurring AL objects called parasites. Other insects also enjoy biting humans. In addition, the sebaceous (oil) glands of the body may produce symptoms, as well as the sweat (fluid) glands.

Lice Infestation (“Crabs”) (Pediculosis) is a condition that arises when the hair on 86 various parts of the body becomes infected with the louse (or “crabs” as it commonly called). Diagnosis depends or seeing either the lice or the eggs (caller “nits,” usually adherent to the hair shat: like a small sago grain). There are three typical kinds of lice, depending on their location.

Each tends to stick to its own territory. Pediculosis pubis (“crabs” or pubi, louse) is found in the genital region infesting the pubic hair. Pediculosis corporis is mainly confined to the general body area. Pediculosis capitis is usually found in the hair of the scalp. The itch and irritation can be intense. Scratching, with secondary infection, can commonly take place. Lice was once associated with a poor standard of living, and lack of hygiene. However, it is now quite possible for persons of good living standards to become infected when dealing with infected people (for example schoolteachers, social workers, medical workers etc). It has become very widespread in all social classes over the past few years.

Talking of livestock, this one can fairly readily be seen. Have you ever noticed the way these tiny objects race through the hair, or have you seen their eggs (called nits) adherent to the hair shaft like tiny pieces of sago?

Technically this is called pediculosis, or crabs in everyday language. Like scabies, it was originally more common in families with a poor standard of personal hygiene. But in recent years it appears to affect anybody, irrespective of cleanliness. However, it is still more common in schools and institutions.

It does very little harm apart from the irritation and itch. So scratching is common, and excoriations may become infected as a result.

Lice Treatment

Self-diagnosis is usually fairly simple. Anyone with a previous infection knows what to seek and is accustomed to the symptoms and the characteristic appearance of the lice.

Applications include DDT applications, once regular, are not recommended now. Lorexane,” “Quellada” or “Pyrifoam” may be applied and left in hair. Two applications 10 days apart are recommended. Combing the hair with a fine metal comb will often remove eggs (nits). Overseas a “super-louse” has despread, but so far it is not a problem in Australia or New Zealand. To prevent recurrences, it is essential that clothing be thoroughly inspected and cleanliness in living must be of a reasonable standard in the future. At school, all members of an infected class should be treated simultaneously. This is common.

Gamma benzene hexachloride in the form of Lorexane or Quellada or Pyrifoam and other applications generally give prompt and excellent results. Usually one application of the lotion is adequate, but a second may be made seven to fourteen days later. (Follow directions on the label.) Combing the hair with a very fine-toothed comb is said to help remove nits (eggs) adhering to the hair shafts.

Personal hygiene is essential, and regularly shampooing the scalp and hair is a good idea. Often schools carry out regular inspections. If you receive a little note saying your child has lice, don’t get angry (as many parents do). It’s not a slur on you, just a plea to have it treated effectively and promptly.