Head Lice Treatment
It is easy for parents to get all fussed and worried over the tiniest matter if they see their kids suffering, and children infected with head lice is no exception. Lice can make a child’s life difficult as these insects bring about severe itching to the scalp, but with proper lice treatment this can be eliminated. Lice infestation in human hair is not a rare incurrence; in fact, millions of people suffer from this kind of infestation every year and that is in the United States alone. Although prevalent with kids, lice do not choose their host, thus, they infest children and adults alike. That is why the much needed head lice treatment products are widely accessible in drugstores worldwide.
Getting To Know Those Annoying Lice
Now, let us learn more about lice (louse in singular form). By definition, head lice are parasitic insects that feed on human blood. Also know by scientific name pediculus humanus capitis, these parasites are generally found on people’s heads, crawling on scalps and sucking blood in order to survive. Because they are so tiny, their movements most often emanate a tickling feeling or the sensation that something is moving and the itchiness on the scalp occurs when they happen to be feeding themselves. They are commonly found behind the ears and at the back of head near the neckline.
The length of an adult louse roughly reaches up to three millimeters only. Its body, which is bigger than its other parts, is oval-shaped and has six legs with claws on each one which they use for gripping. The head louse has a rustic color especially after feeding itself. Head lice move by crawling. A lot of people have this misconception about lice that these insects actually fly, but they do not. Head lice do not fly as they have no wings nor hop or jump. Instead, they crawl. Albeit their limited movement, lice are very active insects so they can move very fast especially when the situation calls for it.
In order to deal properly with head lice infestation, otherwise known as pediculosis, it is necessary information to identify the three forms of lice. The nits are head lice eggs. Female lice usually lay six to eight nits every day and these nits need eight to nine days before hatching. Nymphs almost look like an adult lice but are significantly smaller. They are what come out of hatched nits. What is interesting to know about a nymph is that it sheds off its exoskeleton three times before becoming an adult louse and that usually takes place within nine to twelve days. Finally, a fully developed adult louse can live up to thirty days in a man’s head even with enough supply of blood. However, it only takes a day or two for a head louse to die if separated from its host.
Transference, Lice Symptoms and Infestation Diagnosis
If you look at history, or even the current trend of head lice infestation, it is very clear that preschoolers in day care, elementary school children and sometimes, the household members of the infested kids are the most that are at risk for getting head lice. But unlike what most people think, personal hygiene does not play a role in getting head lice. Kids playing dirty at school or children missing a couple of days taking a bath do not lead to the occurrence of head lice. Kids and adults get head lice mostly through direct contact with an infested person’s head. There are also other means in which head lice can be acquired. Sometimes, you can get head lice through direct contact with clothing such as hats, scarves or coats and grooming paraphernalia such as combs, headbands and clips, towels, or brushes. Unlike the direct head-to-head contact, these secondary means are very uncommon albeit possible. So all, specifically parents are advised to be cautious by not allowing other kids use their children’s personal belongings. You can never tell when they’ll get those disgusting, itchy and annoying parasites.
In the event of possible infestation, children usually exhibit symptoms that suggest the presence of head lice. These distinguishing factors usually revolve around the following listed below:
- the sensation of something moving on your scalp which give a tickling feeling
- itchiness caused by head louse bites
- soreness or redness on the scalp resulting from excessive scratching
- some victims get very irritable although not everyone does
Because misdiagnosis happens more often than not, close examination of hair and scalp after discovering the symptoms is necessary in order to determine head lice infestation. If you happen to come across with a live nymph or adult lice crawling on the surface of the scalp on your child’s head, then the diagnosis would be there is an active head lice infestation. Nymphs and adult lice are very tiny, move very fast, and immediately hide when there is light which in turn make them very hard to find. By using fine toothed louse comb, detecting live adult head lice, nymphs or nits is made easier.
Head Lice Infestation in the Summer Months
Statistically speaking, the number of head lice infestation, or pedulosis, significantly increases during summer months when children go to summer camps, or do sleepovers. The rate of infestation during this period of time is even higher than when schools are in spring session. It is highly recommended that even before camp begins, parents must diagnose their child for possible head lice infestation so that necessary steps can be made the earliest possible time.
Get Rid of Lice!
The alarming number of children and adults infested with head lice is something that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, considers especially when there are cases of immunity to lice treatment products. In order to get rid of lice properly and effectively, CDC guidelines will be a helpful list of tips particularly to parents worrying about their kids with lice.
How to Get Rid of Lice – General Guidelines
Itchiness to the scalp does not always mean that there is head lice infestation. Such symptom may have been brought about by something else; therefore, it is important to confirm that there is an active infestation before applying any lice products onto the person. If evidence of infestation presents itself, it is absolutely imperative to apply treatment the soonest possible time.
In cases where the infested person shares the same bed, pillows, mattress, towel, etc. with another person, experts believe that a preventive treatment, wherein the infested person and his other household members or bedmates are treated at the same time, is viable in order to contain infestation. This is particularly true to kids usually three to eleven years of age who are infested with head lice and shares some things with their parents. Retreating head lice should be done at the right moment. Retreatment must occur after all the nits have hatched and before new eggs are produced. This is usually takes place on the ninth day from the start of treatment. Although supplemental measures are not really necessary in getting rid of head lice, these extra measures will positively contribute to the faster recovery of the infested person.
Head Lice Treatment and Remedy
There are two types of head lice treatment that can bring remedy to head lice infestation. One is through chemical treatment and the other is through natural treatment.
This treatment uses either an over-the-counter or prescription medication in treating head lice.
- It may be helpful to remove clothing before applying lice medicine to avoid stain.
- Read instructions properly and follow the steps to the letter in applying lice shampoo medication. Pay close attention to the instructed length of time the medication must be left on the hair before washing and how it should be washed.
- Always remember that it is not advisable to apply shampoo and conditioner combination or conditioner alone prior to using the medicine. After washing off the medicine from the hair, do not re-wash for 1-2 days.
- Put on clean clothes after treatment.
- See if there are any dead lice found after 8 to 12 hours of treatment; if not dead, but are at least moving so slowly, no re-treatment needed. This could mean that the medicine is effective but it takes longer to kill the lice. Using fine-toothed nit comb, comb all dead head lice and all the remaining live nits out of the hair.
- However, if after 8-12 hours of treatment, head lice are still as active as before, do not re-treat. The lice may be immune to the medicine you are using. Instead, go to your physician and he may prescribe another lice medicine for you to use.
- Prevention is the key to avoiding self re-infestation. That is why after treatment, it is best to continue combing hair using nit comb every 2-3 days and continue to do this for 2-3 weeks.
- Re-treatment is usually recommended for most head lice medicine and should be done on day 9 before new eggs are hatched.
Some parents sometimes choose natural remedies over chemical treatment, especially when their children who are infested are much too young to receive strong medicines. Some adopt the conventional method of removing head lice by using nit combs and tweezers but should be done constantly in order to stop the infestation. Some go even to the extent of applying mayonnaise, olive oil, and Vaseline onto the hair and leave it overnight with shower cap on and wash them out the next day. There are also herbal medicines available with ingredients that believe to be effective in dealing with head lice such as tea tree oil. While these methods seem safe, there is no 100% guarantee that they can eliminate an infestation, but it is still worth a try.
Remember to keep looking around my site for more information on head lice treatment and tips on how to get rid of lice. Good Luck!