Head Lice Exams (Pediculosis)

Head Lice Exams (Pediculosis)

Head lice (also called Pediculus humanus capitis (peh-DICK-you-lus HUE-man-us CAP-ih-TUS), are parasitic insects found on the heads of people. Having head lice is very common. Head lice are most commonly found on the scalp, behind the ears and near the neckline at the back of the neck.

Signs and symptoms of head lice infestation:

  • Tickling feeling of something moving in the hair.

  • Itching, caused by an allergic reaction to the bites.

  • Irritability.

  • Sores on the head caused by scratching. These sores can sometimes become infected.

Who gets head lice:
Anyone who comes in close contact (especially head-to-head contact) with someone who already has head lice is at greatest risk. Occasionally, head lice may be acquired from contact with clothing (such as hats, scarves, coats) or other personal items (such as brushes or towels) that belong to an infested person. Preschool and elementary-age children, ages 3-11, and their families are infested most often. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school have nothing to do with getting head lice.

Nursing staff at any of the MCHclinics can assist you in identifying a head lice infestation and provide treatment information (often called a ‘head check’). These services are provided on a ‘sliding scale’ or discount system. Education, examination for lice, and provision of over the counter (OTC) medications are provided. Appointments are not needed.

Services are available at the following sites:
3rd Street Health Center
Birchwood Health Center
Ooltewah Health Center
Sequoyah Health Center

Click here for general head lice and treatment information.