Back to School Dermatology – Lice

I have to admit that this time of year I usually get a little jealous when I see all those school supplies and back to school advertisements.  After spending a lot of years in school, it is hard to admit that my school days are over.  But YIPPEE the time has finally arrived that I can venture into those school supply aisles once again using Lily as an excuse.  Yes, Lily started kindergarten last week.  Seems like I just sent out her birth announcement, but my baby is growing up.  She had a delightful first week as I knew she would.  She loves school, just like her mama.  Hopefully she won’t attend 26 years of school before finally embarking on her career (It takes a LONG time to become a dermatologist).

In honor of the back to school season I thought I would do a series of blog posts about dermatologic conditions commonly seen and transmitted in school aged children.

Lice, bed bugs, molluscum, warts, impetigo and more, OH MY!  I have so much to look forward to…

We’ll start with lice….

Human head louse. By Gilles San Martin from Namur, Belgium (Male human head louse Uploaded by Jacopo Werther)

Human head louse. By Gilles San Martin from Namur, Belgium (Male human head louse Uploaded by Jacopo Werther)

There are actually a few different types of lice, but the head louse is more common in school aged children than body or pubic lice, so we’ll focus on those.

Happily, most cases of lice are detected and treated at home, school and the pediatrician.  We do, however, encounter a resistant case from time to time. There are countless videos and online articles.  I have collected some of the best references here for you.

The Centers for Disease Control has an excellent handout about lice.

And this is a great article and chart about myths about head lice.

Top myths regarding head lice…

1-You are more likely to get lice if you are dirty– Lice are not a respecter of persons. Jennifer Garner talks about her family’s encounter with lice.

2-Pets carry lice –The head louse is specific to humans, with the exception maybe beings some other primates. So, if you have an ape for a pet you can be concerned, otherwise, no worries.

3-Lice can jump and fly – They can crawl only, so direct head to head or hair to hair contact is usually required to acquire lice.

4-Houses can be infested with lice – Head lice need a blood meal every few hours and the warmth of the human scalp to survive. When off the human body, they cannot survive for more than 24 to 36 hours.  While it is recommended to do some general cleaning, laundering and vacuuming, there is no need to call an exterminator.

For great photos and tips check out these videos by the American Academy of Dermatology and Rid.

And now, I am itching and crawling and off to check Lily’s head while she sleeps…


What are the common dermatologic things I have to look forward to as a mom of a school aged child? What would you like me to write about next?

Aaron’s Back! Aaron Santmyire APRN-BC, DNP

Caught in the act arguing by Santa.

Caught in the act arguing by Santa.

We are so happy to announce that Aaron Santmyire, APRN-BC, DNP is rejoining our practice.  Aaron worked with us and saw patients in the office in 2011-12.  Since, then he has been working in Madagascar as a medical missionary with Assemblies of God World Missions.

If you think the name sounds familiar, yes Aaron Santmyire and Beth Santmyire-Rosenberger are brother and sister.  When we were little we tended to fight a lot, mainly because I (Beth) was too bossy and Aaron got tired of being bossed around.  Luckily, we have worked through that and are the best of friends now.  In this picture we were playing basketball in the backyard and we got caught arguing by none other than Santa.  We were both a little shocked and embarrassed by Santa catching us in the act arguing again.  Now that you know our family secrets, here is a short interview with Aaron to help you get to know him better….(These are actually questions that I get asked the most about him. )  I had him answer them in his own words…

Where is Madagascar?  Isn’t there a movie about that? Madagascar is the world’s fourth largest island and is located off of the southeast coast of Africa. There definitely is a movie about Madagascar, that is a lot more popular around the world than in Madagascar.

What about your family?  How do your wife and kids like living a missionary lifestyle? I am blessed to be the the husband of one wife named Heather, and two great children Isabelle and Josiah. Our family believes that living and serving is what God has asked us to do. There are some sacrifices, but we are blessed. Honestly, my kids only really know the missionary lifestyle, so it is ordinary to them.

Do you live in a tent or hut or what? Good question, it might sound more exciting if we did, but we do not. We live in a nice house made of mud bricks that are covered with plaster and has a tin roof.  The tin roof allows to always know when it is raining.We have water and electricity sometimes. It is not as dependable as in the United States, but we are grateful when it works.

Aaron & our Dad took Lily fishing last year to catch her first fish.

Aaron & our Dad took Lily fishing last year to catch her first fish.

What are your hobbies and can you do them when you are in Madagascar? I enjoy trout fishing, but there are no trout streams in Madagascar. There are other opportunities to fish, but I have not been successful at all, so I have given up on fishing in Madagascar. I like to run, which I am able to do there. I also enjoy following the Mountaineers in both basketball and football.

I see you have done research on chromoblastomycosis… what in the world is that? Chromoblastomycosis is a chronic fungal infection that normally affects men who work in the rice fields or who work in cutting down the forest for charcoal. They often get stuck with a splinter which introduces the fungus which subsequently develops into lesions on their legs. It is not normally fatal, but becomes infected and has a putrid odor. This odor often causes people to be excluded from communal life, as the odor is overwhelming. We are able to treat patients and see some dramatic changes which allow them to re-enter their community once again.

How do you like working with your sister?  That is an easy question. One of the hardest parts about being a missionary is being away from family and missing out on the opportunity of a life time working with my sister. It is truly an unbelievable opportunity, but she has always been supportive of our work as missionaries. My sister and I have always been very close, more like best friends than brother and sister. She is someone who has pioneered the way for me in many areas, and someone I deeply respect.  People often ask if I miss the US, and surprisingly I do not miss the US. However, I miss my family deeply. Getting to work with my sister is always a highlight of my year and one of the areas I really struggle with when deciding to return to the mission field.

Isn’t he the best brother ever?  Aaron will be here in the US for about one year and then will return to Madagascar to continue his work there.  He is a great asset to our practice.

Before we could argue with each other, or my Mom about these outfits.

Before we could argue with each other, or my Mom about these outfits.

Aaron Santmyire  APRN-BC, DNP

Aaron Santmyire APRN-BC, DNP