Lice may cause very unpleasant symptoms for some patients. Itching is the most common symptom of lice. For some, the itching may be unbearable, while others may grow tolerable of the itching or may not find it too bothersome. Regardless, patients are encouraged to speak with a healthcare professional to discuss treatments and how to avoid spreading lice to others.
When to Seek Treatment
Body lice usually go away on their own if you bathe thoroughly and regularly and wash your clothes and bed sheets in hot water. Make sure that you wear clean clothes each day, as body lice, despite their name, live in the seams of clothes. They only go on the body the feed. If you have head or pubic lice (crabs), speak with a healthcare professional regarding possible treatments. Even if the symptoms of lice or the idea of having lice does not bother you, it is still a good idea to seek treatment to get rid of lice to avoid spreading them to others who may find the symptoms unbearable or embarrassing.
Who Provides Treatment
If you have lice, you should seek a healthcare professional's advice regarding treatment. The local health department may be helpful, as well as a nurse practitioner, internist, pediatrician, family doctor, gynecologist (pubic lice) or dermatologist. If a prescription is necessary, the healthcare professional should be authorized to write prescriptions and provide medical advice about which medications may provide the best results.
Choosing a Healthcare Professional
Whatever the healthcare professional's title, make sure that you feel comfortable asking the specialist questions. Establishing an open line of communication between the patient and doctor is very important in treating any condition, even lice. Check with your state's medical licensing board to determine if the specialist is licensed and certified to provide treatment and/or advice. Never receive treatment or medical advice from an unlicensed person.
The clinic should be clean and hygienic. As you should make sure that you feel comfortable with the healthcare professional, you should also be sure that you feel comfortable going to and receiving treatment at the clinic or doctor's office. While lice are usually not considered a major medical concern, treating them before they spread to other members of the family is important. In some cases, sores from lice bites may become crusted over and/or infected. In this case, speak with a qualified physician.