Common pediatric infestations: Update on diagnosis and treatment of scabies, head lice, and bed bugs

Nonye Ogbuefi, Brandi Kenner-Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose of the reviewThis review will update pediatric providers on the recent data regarding the epidemiology, diagnosis, and treatment of common skin infestations affecting children and adolescents.Recent findingsStandard superficial skin biopsy for scabies and the vacuum method for head lice can increase diagnostic accuracy and efficiency. There is growing resistance to some of the traditional treatments for scabies and head lice, and progress has been made in finding newer and potentially more effective treatments, such as oral moxidectin for scabies and abametapir for head lice. Recent studies have established the safety of traditional treatments, such as permethrin and oral ivermectin in infants and small children.SummaryPermethrin and ivermectin are both considered safe and effective for children and adolescents with scabies. Permethrin is generally considered safe in infants less than two months of age. Proper application of permethrin is critical, and providers should emphasize proper application technique. Treatment of head lice should only be initiated with active infestations. Resistance to permethrin continues to increase and other options are now available, including an over-the-counter topical ivermectin formulation. Identification and eradication of bed bug infestations are crucial in preventing bedbug bites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-415
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent opinion in pediatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021


  • bed bugs
  • head lice
  • infestations
  • scabies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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