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Woman wonders about bugs found on scalp and hair

BY DR. PETER GOTT Published: May 19, 2009
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DEAR DR. GOTT: I was visiting my son in California, and while there, I saw your articles in the newspaper. I am writing because I have a problem, but no one believes me. I have seen several doctors, including a disease specialist, primary-care doctor, dermatologist and others. No one can give me an answer, so I am hoping that you can.

In December 2007, I was visiting my other son (also in California) to spend the holidays and my birthday with him and his family. Just before my birthday, my daughter-in-law took me to get my hair done at the beauty shop where her longtime friend worked. I am not entirely sure what happened, but during my permanent, she burned my hair.

Shortly after, I left to visit one of my daughters in Kentucky. By then, my head was itching, so I washed my hair several times. I also noticed that I had bugs in my hair and on my scalp. When I returned to California again, I saw my other daughter’s primary doctor. He told me that I didn’t have bugs, and that I was just making it up because of my age. (I was 85.) I then collected two small bottles of the bugs and took them to the agriculture department to have them analyzed. They told me what they were, so I went to the library but couldn’t find anything. What they told me the bugs were and what I found in my hair didn’t look anything alike.

I then went to see a dermatologist and told him I didn’t have lice. I know what lice look like, and these didn’t look anything like them. The dermatologist gave me a cream for dry skin on my back and removed two blue spots from my hands but didn’t do anything for my head.

These bugs look like small black dots.