What are Head lice?
They are tiny, whitish to brown organisms that reside on the skin casing the top of your scalp. They can also be found in the eyelashes and eyebrows. They spread from one person to another by close contact.
They infect the hair on your head. Tiny eggs on the hair resemble flakes of dandruff. But they don’t peel off the hair, they stay in that place. They can stay up to thirty days on the human hair. Their eggs can stay for more than two weeks. They easily spread more particularly amongst school kids. They are common in overcrowded, close living environments.
One can get them through:
- Coming into close contact with someone who is infected
- Touching bedding or clothing of a person who is infected.
- Sharing of towels, combs, hats and brushes with a person who is infected.
They cause intense itching, but they never spread or carry diseases. For a person getting he4ad lice does not necessary mean that one has poor hygiene.
Symptoms of head lice include:
- Intense itching of the scalp.
- Small and red bumps on parts like; the neck, scalp, and shoulders.
- Tiny white specks.
Exams and Tests
They are very hard to see. One needs to look closely. Look at the person’s head under bright light or use a magnifying lens.
To exam head lice:
- Part the hair down to the scalp.
- Look at the hair and scalp for eggs and moving lice.
- Examine the entire head this way.
- Examine closely around the top of the ears and neck.
Hair shampoos and lotions containing 1% permethrin will often work well. Those medicines can be bought without a prescription. If this does not work see a doctor. The medicines should be used as directed. Using them always or in the wrong way can cause serious side effects.
To use the hair shampoo and lotion:
- Rinse and dry your hair.
- Apply the shampoo to the hair and scalp.
- Wait for ten minutes, and then wash it off.
- Check for hair lice again in 8-12 hours.
If you discover active lice or lice eggs, talk to your doctor before doing the next treatment.
Wash all bed linens and clothes with detergent in hot water during hair lice treatment. This will help to stop them from spreading to other people during the short duration that they can survive off the body. Also ask your doctor if someone who shares clothes or bedding with the infected person requires treatment to.
Never share combs, hats, towels, clothing, hair brushes, hairpieces and bedding with an infected person.
If your children are infected, make sure that you check the policies at daycare and schools. A number of places do not permit infected children to be in school up to the time when the lice are fully treated.
Many schools may have policies to ensure that the environment is free of hair lice. Cleaning of floors, carpets, and other surfaces regularly helps prevent the spread of every type of infections, even head lice.