Pediculosis (lice) and Scabies Management

Scabies

 Scabies is a parasitic infestation. Scabies are mites that spread via skin-to-skin contact with an infected person, or by sharing bedding, clothing, or towels with an infected person. Regardless of personal hygiene, a scabies infestation occurs when mites burrow under the surface of the skin and cause an allergic reaction.

The Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominid, a microscopic mite, will invade the skin by burrowing into the epidermis to lay its eggs. The infestation will alert the body to a foreign invader and trigger an immune response that causes symptoms of itching. The action of itching can lead to a bacterial infection, skin sores, and worsened infection (i.e.septicaemia) if bacteria enter the bloodstream. As a result, scabies-related infection can result in chronic kidney disease and heart disease  if the scabies is not treated.

What areas of the body are prone to scabies infestation?

Scabies can develop anywhere on the body, however, the mites do prefer to burrow and live in these areas:

How is Scabies treated?

Since scabies will not go away on its own, effective scabies treatment aims to treat the rash and banish the mites from under the skin in the following ways:

In early diagnosed cases, your doctor may prescribe a type of topical scabicide (i.e. permethrin, to anyone over 6-months old) children aged under 6 months),  the ointment can be applied all over the body. Oral ivermectin may be prescribed to children under 6-months old and pregnant women. Co-habitants may also be diagnosed and treated as future infestations can be prevented when the whole household seeks treatment at the same time. Antibiotics or antiseptics are often prescribed if infection is evident.


Pediculosis

It is an infestation of lice (blood-feeding ectoparasitic insects of the order Phthiraptera).  The three lice species that infest humans are Pediculus humanus capitis—head louse (left), Phthirus pubis --crab or pubic louse ( right), and Pediculus humanus corpus—body louse. All three insects are obligate human parasites.

Contrary to popular belief, these insects do not hop, jump, or fly. Rather, they are transmitted by person-to-person contact.

What areas of the body are prone to lice infestation?

Head and pubic lice infestations are diagnosed by finding lice or viable eggs (nits) on examination. Excoriations and pyoderma also may be present.

How is  Pediculosis treated?

The number of diagnosed cases of human louse infestations (or pediculosis) has increased worldwide. There is no product or method which assures 100% destruction of the eggs and hatched lice after a single treatment. However, there are a number of treatment methods that can be employed with varying degrees of success. These methods include chemical treatments, natural products, combs, shaving, hot air, silicone-based lotions, and ethanol (ethyl alcohol).

The pharmacological treatment of pediculosis include the use of crotamiton applied twice at 24 hour interval and washed off day after that. Benzyl benzoate also can be used when combined with lindane, it is applied once and then washed off after 24 hours.