The New York Times: The Latest on Lice
by Perri Klass, M.D.
Like many other parents, I've paid my dues when it comes to head lice. It was a while ago, back in day care, and there was a dress-up box with hats and crowns and helmets that was probably the smoking gun. We all had to do the whole routine, appying insecticide rinses to our children's heads and washing sheets and pillow cases in hot water, and becoming somewhat fanatical about not sharing hats.
One aspect of the confusion around head lice is that we may think of them as "infectious" because they are spread from person to person - but they do not actually carry infections. They're just bugs, and technically, we call head lice an infestation rather than an infection, but that doesn't necessarily make anyone feel any better.
"Misdiagnosis is really common, even with medical personnel," said Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, the director of infectious disease at Children's Mercy Kansas City, who works with the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on infectious diseases.
Learn more about the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children's Mercy.