Head Lice

Head lice are a very common problem. They are very annoying. People who don’t know how to treat this common hair problem can benefit from our article. Our article provides all the information on head lice.

Head lice are tiny, parasitic insects. These wingless bugs live in human hair. They feed on small amounts of blood drawn from the scalp.

Forms of Lice
Head Lice are of three forms. They are:

  • Eggs/Nits: Lice eggs are also called nits. Adult female lice lay eggs at the base of the hair shafts close to the scalp where the temperature is warm enough for hatching. Before hatching, nits look tiny brown, yellow, or tan dots. The remaining shell looks clear or white after hatching. Lice eggs take 1 to 2 weeks to hatch.
  • Nits are so small (about the size of a knot in thread) that they are difficult to see. Most of the times, they are confused for dandruff or hair spray droplets. They can not be removed either by brushing or shaking.

  • Nymphs: Baby lice are called nymphs. They, though, look like adult lice, are smaller. They feed on blood. They become adult lice within 7 days after hatching.
  • Adult: The adult lice are about the size of a sesame seed. They are brownish tan in color. In people with darker hair, the adult lice look darker. Adult lice have six legs. Female adult lice lay eggs. Adult lice can survive up to 30 days in human hair and if they fall off they die within 2 to 3 days.

Symptoms of Head Lice Infestation

  • Tickling, itching, and scratching feeling in the scalp
  • Small, red bumps; crusting, oozing rashes; and inflamed lymph glands in the scalp
  • Lice and nits found on the scalp, behind the ears, and near the neckline at the back of the neck

Victims of Head Lice
Head lice are highly contagious. Although they can neither fly nor jump, they crawl and cling firmly to hair. They spread quickly in group settings like child-care centers, schools, camps, playgrounds, and slumber parties. They spread when you use someone’s (already infested with head lice) personal items like clothes, towels, combs, brushes, hats, and bed linens. People who come in close contact (head-to-head contact) with others who already have head lice acquire head lice. Kids between 3 to 12 years of age and their parents are infested with head lice, more often. Girls are more at risk of acquiring head lice than boys.

Treatment for Head Lice

  • Use over-the-counter shampoos, lotions, or creams to kill the nice. However, medicated lice treatments are not be used on children below 2 years of age. Remove the lice and nits by hand.
  • Shampoo the hair regularly with medicated shampoos.
  • Use fine tooth-comb on your hair after shampooing. Comb on wet hair.

Do’s to Prevent Lice Reinfestation

  • Wash all clothing and bed linens of the family member who is lice infested in very hot water (130 degrees Fahrenheit or 54.4 degrees Celsius). Put them in the hot cycle of the dryer for at least 20 minutes.
  • Clothing that are not machine washable should be dry cleaned.
  • Soak all hair-care items like combs, brushes, hair bands or ties, and barrettes in medicated shampoo or rubbing alcohol for 1 hour.
  • Consult a doctor if lice infestation persists despite treatment.
  • Contact the staff at your child’s child-care center or school and ask them to undertake a lice-free therapy. Not only your child but other children will benefit.

Don’ts to Prevent Lice Reinfestation

  • After applying scalp treatments don’t use a hair dryer
  • Before the application of lice medication don’t use a shampoo/conditioner combination or a cream rinse
  • After using a medicated treatment don’t wash the hair for 1 to 2 days
  • Don’t use sprays
  • Avoid using the same medication more than three times
  • Don’t use more than one head lice medication at a time

Head lice aren’t dangerous. They don’t spread disease. But they are contagious and annoying. Follow the preventive tips and treatments and keep the bugs at bay and your family lice-free.