Child Head Lice
The truth is, head lice can affect anyone. Lice are not caused by lack of cleanliness. Lice do not spread disease and lice aren't dangerous but they are spreadable and can just be downright annoying. However, lice can spread very easily. That is why lice are so common in child care centres and schools.
What are head lice?
Head lice are insects about the size of a pin-head that live on the scalp. Female lice lay tiny, pale eggs that stick to the hair. The egg cases are called nits. Nits hatch in about 7 days. Full grown lice can live for several weeks on the scalp.
How are head lice spread from person to person?
Head lice spread mainly by direct contact. They can also spread by objects that touch the head.
This can include such things as:
- Sports helmets and
- Hair accessories
How do you know if your child has head lice?
If another child has head lice, check your child’s hair for nits right away. Check again after one week and then again after 2 weeks.
You will need to check your child’s hair scalp.
Here’s what to look for:
- Nits are usually firmly attached to the hair close to the scalp. They are greyish white and oval.
- Adult lice are only 1mm (1/8 inch) long and are very hard to see. The nits are easier to see.
- Itching and scratching of the head is one of the first signs. But this does not happen in all children.
- Nits may look like dandruff but they cannot be flicked off.
Where to look:
- The back of the neck
- Behind the ears
- Top of the head
How to check your child:
- Point a bright light at your child’s hair.
- Part your child’s hair in small sections going from one side of the head to the other. Check carefully. Especially around the ears and at the back of the neck.
How do you choose a head lice treatment?
Talk to your doctor about the choices of treatment. You will see that the directions for each product are different.
Tell your pharmacist if the medicine for:
- Someone with allergies
- A baby
- Someone with a skin condition
- A woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding
- A person with any other medical condition
- A person who has already treated with a head lice product recently
How can you treat your child’s head lice?
- There are several good treatments for head lice. You don’t need a prescription. Most treatments use an insecticide that kills the lice. The nits, however, are so firmly attached that they cannot be washed off with the lice shampoo or rinse.
- Follow the directions on the product exactly. It is a good idea for the person giving the treatment to use plastic or rubber gloves. Use the head lice treatment over a sink, not in a bath or shower. This will lower the exposure to chemical products.
- Do not leave the shampoo or rinse in your child’s hair longer than directed. Rinse the hair well after the treatment. Be careful not to get the product near to your child’s eyes, nose or mouth.
- Wash your combs and brushes in the lice shampoo and rinse well.
- Your child may complain after treatment that his or her head is still itchy. This does not mean that the treatment did not work. It only means the scalp irritation may take a few more days to go away.
Do you need to remove the nits?
- Some products recommend removing the nits as part of the treatment. Check the directions on the package or ask your pharmacist.
- Removing the nits by hand is helpful but takes a long time. It may also be uncomfortable for your child. Nits do not come off easily. To loosen the nits, rinse your child’s hair with equal parts vinegar and water.
- The best way to remove nits is by running hair strands between your thumb and fingernail. Or you can ask your pharmacist for a special comb to do this. Put the nits in a bag, tie it up and throw it out.
Do you need to repeat the treatment?
- May recommend repeating treatment in 7 to 10 days to kill any newly hatched nits.
- Treatment may be unsuccessful if the medication is not used correctly or if the lice are resistant to it.
- Lice can survive only on the scalp.
- They do not live long on objects such as furniture, car seats and stuffed animals. But it is a good idea to wash your child’s bedding, towels and hats in very hot water.
- Do not share hats, combs, brushes or towels.
- Store hats and scarves in a coat or pocket.
- Store the items in an airtight plastic bag for 2 weeks.
- Vacuum carpets and any upholstered furniture.
- Keep long hair tied back.
Things you shouldn't do:
- Don't use the same medication more than three times on one person. If it doesn't seem to be working, your doctor may recommend another medication.
- Don't use more than one head lice medication at a time.
Article By:- eHealthhut Webmaster