Complications of pediculosis

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Pediculosis, caused by the insect human louse, is a parasitic skin disease that can develop both on human skin and on his clothing. It is important to note that this insect parasitizes exclusively on mammals, feeding on their blood and attaching its eggs to hair.

In 2017, 1093 cases of head lice were registered among the population of the Khabarovsk Territory (in 2016 – 1617 cases). The majority of those affected - more than 80% - are children under 17 years of age. The prevalence of head lice among schoolchildren exceeds the average for Russia. In this regard, prevention, identification of patients and prevention of the spread of the disease remain relevant, especially at the beginning of the new school year.

Characteristic symptoms of the disease include persistent itching at the bite sites, as well as the presence of both the parasites themselves and their eggs (nits). Although the presence of lice may be perceived as a cosmetic defect, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers that these small insects can pose.

Pediculosis - sources of infection and symptoms

Infection with parasites occurs through contact with a carrier, most often when living in large crowds of people in the absence of an appropriate level of hygiene culture. Depending on the affected area, there are several types of this disease:

1. Head lice, in which lice develop their activity in the scalp;
2. Pediculosis pubis, the insect settles directly in the human pubic area, as well as in the adjacent genitals and places with hair;
3. Body lice, lice take root on human belongings and cause harm to the entire body.

lice symptoms

Symptoms of pediculosis may not appear immediately after infection, but after several days or even weeks. The main signs of pediculosis include:

1. Itching that occurs when infected with any form of pediculosis. In the case of head lice, the most common concern is itching in the temporal and occipital parts of the head, as well as behind the ears. The degree of discomfort in some infected people is quite mild, in contrast to the intensity of itching when infected with body parasites. With lice pubis, the main discomfort is localized in the anus and genitals, the itching is minor;

2. A rash that appears on the skin some time after infection. The sites of parasite bites during head lice are painted red and are marked only along the periphery of the head, covered with hair. When parasitized by body louse, the skin acquires a bright bluish tint. Blue spots ranging from 0,3 to 1 cm in size in the thighs and abdomen indicate pubic lice activity;

3. Excoriation (scratching), which occurs after intense and prolonged itching;

4. The presence of eggs (nits) on the hair, which can be detected when infected with pubic or head lice. Depending on whether the nits on the hairs are alive or dead, their color and the density of the attached bubble differ.

The diagnosis of pediculosis can be made after detecting the parasites themselves or live nits, or using a Wood's lamp, if this cannot be done without special devices.

What is the danger of lice bites?

The first danger of lice lies in the bites of adults. When piercing the skin, the louse introduces a special substance into the human body - an anticoagulant, which reduces blood clotting. This substance is a powerful allergen, causing unbearable itching in many victims.

The insect feeds about 4-6 times a day, so a colony of 1-2 dozen lice can cause very significant damage to an infected person. Constant itching causes a desire to scratch the bite site, which can cause a secondary infection to enter the wound with the further development of pustular inflammation.

Children and people with weakened immune systems who are severely infested with lice may develop an allergic reaction, accompanied by rashes and swelling. All victims experience sleep dysfunction, increased nervousness and irritability.

Regarding the appearance of lice, the most dangerous consequence of lice is the possibility of infection by infections that pathogens can carry. Most often, lice can carry:

1. Typhus and relapsing fever;
2. Various types of fevers.

Diseases are dangerous because during the incubation period they do not show characteristic signs that could alert. In typhus, the first symptoms appear after 14 days, and in relapsing fever - after 18. After the end of the incubation period, the infected person may feel a rise in body temperature, accompanied by chills and fever, a pink rash or yellowing of the skin, depending on the type of disease. Although typhoid infection is currently an exceptional case, more common in underdeveloped countries with poor sanitation and medical care, these consequences should not be forgotten.

Possible complications of pediculosis

The seriousness of the disease lies not only in the presence of a certain discomfort after infection. If you do not get rid of the parasites in time and do not eliminate all the consequences, a number of complications may develop, among which the most important are:

1. Pyoderma or secondary infection of a bacterial nature, which is most often localized on the skin behind the ears, head and face;
2. Conjunctivitis and blepharitis;
3. Lymphadenitis;
4. Typhus, since lice are carriers of this disease.

complications of pediculosis

Measures to prevent head lice

The first rule for preventing the appearance of parasites is maintaining a high level of personal hygiene. It is necessary to regularly change clothes and underwear at least 2 times a week. When washing things, you should use high temperature and avoid using other people's personal hygiene items. Particular attention should be paid to ironing children's clothing, paying attention to folds and seams. To prevent the spread of head lice, medical personnel systematically examine children in accordance with sanitary rules: preventive examinations are carried out monthly in educational institutions, and in the children's clinic, each child is examined when seeking medical help.

Persons affected by pediculosis are necessarily excluded from attending educational institutions. After treatment, children are allowed to visit organized groups upon presentation of a medical certificate from a doctor. When a patient is identified in children's groups, all contact children are examined for head lice within 1 month, every 10 days.

Treatment of pediculosis

If head lice is detected in a child, it is important first of all to isolate the patient from other children in the family and children's group. During the entire treatment, the child must wear a hat that is appropriate for the season. When treating head lice in children, preference is given to less toxic antiparasitic drugs. It is important to carefully follow the instructions when using special solutions to remove lice, and after treating your hair, you must wash your hands thoroughly.

It is necessary to treat all personal hygiene items and linen, including the patient’s bedding, with disinfectants. If a disease is detected in one of the family or children's group, a preventive examination of other members for infection is mandatory. Treatment of pediculosis should be comprehensive, including the use of special means and mechanical removal of parasites and their eggs.

What is Pediculosis | Pediculosis Awareness Month | CARE Hospitals

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