2021 ICD-10-CM Code B85

Pediculosis and phthiriasis

Version 2021

Not Valid for Submission

B85 is a non-specific and non-billable diagnosis code code, consider using a code with a higher level of specificity for a diagnosis of pediculosis and phthiriasis. The code is not specific and is NOT valid for the year 2021 for the submission of HIPAA-covered transactions. Category or Header define the heading of a category of codes that may be further subdivided by the use of 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th characters.

ICD-10:B85
Short Description:Pediculosis and phthiriasis
Long Description:Pediculosis and phthiriasis

Code Classification

Specific Coding for Pediculosis and phthiriasis

Non-specific codes like B85 require more digits to indicate the appropriate level of specificity. Consider using any of the following ICD-10 codes with a higher level of specificity when coding for pediculosis and phthiriasis:

  • BILLABLE CODE - Use B85.0 for Pediculosis due to Pediculus humanus capitis
  • BILLABLE CODE - Use B85.1 for Pediculosis due to Pediculus humanus corporis
  • BILLABLE CODE - Use B85.2 for Pediculosis, unspecified
  • BILLABLE CODE - Use B85.3 for Phthiriasis
  • BILLABLE CODE - Use B85.4 for Mixed pediculosis and phthiriasis

Information for Patients


Head Lice

Also called: Pediculosis

What are head lice?

Head lice are tiny insects that live on people's heads. Adult lice are about the size of sesame seeds. The eggs, called nits, are even smaller - about the size of a dandruff flake. Lice and nits are found on or near the scalp, most often at the neckline and behind the ears.

Head lice are parasites, and they need to feed on human blood to survive. They are one of the three types of lice that live on humans. The other two types are body lice and pubic lice. Each type of lice is different, and getting one type does not mean that you will get another type.

How do head lice spread?

Lice move by crawling, because they cannot hop or fly. They spread by close person-to-person contact. Rarely, they can spread through sharing personal belongings such as hats or hairbrushes. Personal hygiene and cleanliness have nothing to do with getting head lice. You also cannot get pubic lice from animals. Head lice do not spread disease.

Who is at risk for head lice?

Children ages 3-11 and their families get head lice most often. This is because young children often have head-to-head contact while playing together.

What are the symptoms of head lice?

The symptoms of head lice include

How do you know if you have head lice?

A diagnosis of head lice usually comes from seeing a louse or nit. Because they are very small and move quickly, you may need to use a magnifying lens and a fine-toothed comb to find lice or nits.

What are the treatments for head lice?

Treatments for head lice include both over-the-counter and prescription shampoos, creams, and lotions. If you want to use an over-the-counter treatment and you aren't sure which one to use or how to use one, ask your health care provider or pharmacist. You should also check with your health care provider first if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you want to use a treatment on a young child.

Follow these steps when using a head lice treatment:

All household members and other close contacts should be checked and treated if necessary. If an over-the-counter treatment does not work for you, you can ask your health care provider for a prescription product.

Can head lice be prevented?

There are steps you can take to prevent the spread of lice. If you already have lice, besides treatment, you should

To prevent your children from spreading lice:

There is no clear scientific evidence that lice can be suffocated by home remedies, such as mayonnaise, olive oil, or similar substances. You also should not use kerosene or gasoline; they are dangerous and flammable.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


[Learn More in MedlinePlus]

Code History

  • FY 2021 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2020 through 9/30/2021
  • FY 2020 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2019 through 9/30/2020
  • FY 2019 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2018 through 9/30/2019
  • FY 2018 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2017 through 9/30/2018
  • FY 2017 - No Change, effective from 10/1/2016 through 9/30/2017
  • FY 2016 - New Code, effective from 10/1/2015 through 9/30/2016 (First year ICD-10-CM implemented into the HIPAA code set)