Of all the possible infestations of children the two that cause the most disgust and anguish seem to be pinworms and lice. Neither are associated with significant consequences but there will be few readers who will not start scratching while reading. The earliest known evidence of pinworms was found in Utah of pinworm eggs carbon dated to 7837 BC. Lice have been around a very long time with genetic studies showing humans and lice having a relationship over 1.68 million years. The oldest physical evidence is a lice nit found on the hair of a 10,000-year-old body.

Intact nits have been discovered on the heads of mummies and their treatment has been a problem from Aristotle to Louis Pasteur. The war on head lice has been going on for thousands of years. A recent article in the journal Pediatrics, Dr. Dawn Nolt et al, reported on the current ways of diagnosing infestation and treatments.

Sally Robinson is a clinical professor of pediatrics at UTMB Children’s Hospital. This column isn’t intended to replace the advice of your child’s physician.

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(1) comment

Bailey Jones

You may have seen the recent discovery of an inscription on an ancient ivory comb, the first completely deciphered sentence in a Canaanite dialect, written in Canaanite scrip, the earliest alphabet -

“May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard.”

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