You get the call and it you have confirmed it for yourself. Yes, it is now your families’ turn. Your turn for what you may ask? Lice, yes it is true, the time has come to experience lice. We tell our clients it is a right of passage of parenting. Your children are bound to experience lice in their lifetime and probably more than once. You as a parent will most likely experience it too as you love your children and cuddle and show your affection to them…as you should:-)

One of the most common questions we are asked is do the lice that are in the head travel. The answer to that question is no. Lice are host specific and stay to the area they are specific to. Hence, head lice stay on the head, body lice are a different form of lice and stay on the body and the same goes for pubic lice. They will remain in the pubic region. The last one tends to yield a big sigh of relief when asked by our teen and older clients! They have a fear that the lice in their heads will take a walk down south!

Another very common question we come across relates to what the differences are between head lice and scabies. Head lice and scabies are both common parasitic diseases. They are parasitic diseases in humans because they are caused by parasites that inhabit in or on a human and they may feed off of blood.  There are 3 groups of parasites; the protozoa, helminths, and the ectoparasites. Scabies and head lice are both caused by parasites from the ectoparasite type.

The major difference is the form of the parasite. They are easily transmitted from one to another and the common means of transport is contact.

Head lice stay close to the scalp for easy feeding. The louse lays the eggs on the hair shafts. The means of staying alive for the lice are to feed several times a day. They are transmitted through human contact.

Human scabies are caused by mites. The mites tunnel under the skin and mating occurs when the male mite penetrates the burrows or mating pouches that a female has created. The impregnated female then leaves her burrows, resurfaces to the skin to find a new location to make a new burrow for the eggs. This is when the scabies are most infectious. Transmission occurs when the mites are on the skin surface and the infested skin comes in contact with another skin.

Both head lice and scabies can present with symptoms of itchiness and redness and skin rashes. While head lice do not pose a risk of infection or disease, bites can become infected if scratching continues for some time. With scabies, the same can occur as well with the open sores from scratching resulting in bacterial infection. Treatment for head lice can be done with manual removal while treatment for scabies is most successful under a doctor’s care with prescription cream.

So, the next time someone says “what’s bugging you?”… think long and hard about your answer. Don’t be so quick to let someone tell you to just “relax, it’s just in your head”.

As always, when in doubt, give us a shout. We are always here for you.

Have a de-liceful day!


Lauren Salzberg

Potomac Lice Lady