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Pediculosis is defined as the state of being infected with lice. Pediculi or lice is a small blood sucking parasite.

It is associated with poor personal hygiene. It can be acquired in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions and exposure to infected persons


  • To destroy pediculi and nits
  • To prevent its transmission to other
  • To promote comfort
  • To promote sense of well-being

Dangers of Pediculosis

  • Severe itching
  • Scratching and as the result, abscess formation
  • Presence of dandruff
  • Restlessness and insomnia due to discomfort
  • Anemia
  • Presence of nodules at the back of head due to infected glands

Prevention of Pediculosis

  • Proper personal hygiene should be maintained by every person
  • Daily hair combing and frequently washing it
  • If the patient complains of itching or scratches the head, examine hair and scalp thoroughly

Medications Used for Pediculosis Treatment

  • DDT powder one part to nine part of talcum powder
  • Kerosene mixed with equal parts of sweet oil destroys both lice and nits
  • Carbolic acid 1:40
  • Readily available lysil
  • Preparations containing gamma, benzene hexachloride available in the market and can be used according to the instruction on the label

Types of Pediculi

  • Pediculosis capitis: which infest the head
  • Pediculosis corporis: which infest the body and is found with its flits in the clothing
  • Pediculosis pubis: this infests the axillary and pubic hair, the eyebrows and sometimes the eyelashes

General instructions

  • The parasiticides are applied thoroughly on the scalp (to the body if necessary) and is left for overnight
  • On the next day a thorough bath is given and the linen is changed
  • The linen should be thoroughly disinfected to remove the lice from the cloths
  • Since, the parasiticides are not effective against the nits (eggs) the procedure is repeated after a week

Preliminary Assessment


  • Doctors order for specific precautions
  • General condition of the patient
  • Condition of the scalp and the hair
  • Assess mental state to follow the instructions
  • Articles available in the patients unit


A tray containing

  • Mackintosh – 1
  • Bath towels – 2
  • Wash cloth – 1
  • A cap, a triangular bandage or a towel folded diagonally
  • Safety pins
  • Kidney tray with disinfectant, e.g. carbolic acid 1:40
  • Paper bag
  • Hair comb
  • Cotton swabs or gauze piece in a container
  • Vaseline
  • Gown mask and cap
  • Bucket with antiseptic solution, e.g. carbolic acid 5%

Preparation of the Patient and the Unit

  • Explain the sequence of procedure
  • Provide privacy by means of screens
  • Arrange the articles conveniently on the bedside
  • Place the patient flat if the condition permits
  • Bring the patients head and shoulder to the edge of the bed
  • Protect the pillow and bed with a mackintosh and a towel
  • Protect the patient’s eyes with a clean damp wash cloth
  • Pull off the fan to prevent the parasiticide spilling over the face during its application
  • Loosen the hair and comb out the tangles


  • Wash hands thoroughly
  • Put on gown, mask and cap
  • Part the hair into small sections and apply the parasiticide on the hair and scalp, rubbing gently
  • In long hairs, the medicine is to be applied along the whole length of the hair
  • Roll up the long hair to the top of the head and cover the head with cap or triangular bandage or by a towel folded diagonally secure it with pins

Note: the treatment is done in the evening and left over night

After Care

  • Remove the Mackintosh and towels from under the patients head
  • Tidy up the bed; place the patient in a comfortable position
  • Remove the gown, mask and cap and put them into the antiseptic lotion
  • Replace the articles in their proper place after clean and disinfect
  • Record and report the procedure in the nurses record sheet
  • The hair is washed in the following morning
  • Comb the hair with a fine toothed comb
  • Repeat the procedure after one week because the nits are not affected by the parasiticides
  • Disinfect all the articles that have come in contact with the hair by immersing them in carbolic acid 1:20 for one hour before washing
PEDICULOSIS TREATMENT - Definition, Purpose, Prevention, Medications, Types, Preliminary Assessments, Equipment, Procedure, After Care
PEDICULOSIS TREATMENT – Definition, Purpose, Prevention, Medications, Types, Preliminary Assessments, Equipment, Procedure, After Care



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