Lice are annoying and embarrass people at times. They feed on the blood drawn from the scalp. However, they are harmless and are about the size of a sesame seed.
Their tiny tan-colored eggs are called nits and are found firmly attached to the hair shaft. These nits are hatched within one to two weeks after they are laid. Nits can be easily seen and identified than live lice. The live lice survive only up to two days off the scalp. People more commonly get head lice through head-to-head contact rather than indirectly.
Identifying head lice in children
Lice are very common in school kids, as they get in contact with one another more often. They occur most frequently in children between the age of 3 to 12 years.
An itchy scalp is the very common symptom of head lice. However, the itching may not start immediately and may sometimes be delayed for weeks as the head lice takes time to develop.
If you suspect a lice infestation in your child, check for lice and nits with a fine-tooth comb on the scalp, around the nape of the neck and behind the ears. A good comb and bright light will be of good help.
Head lice treatments
Combing helps in getting the lice out and won’t leave out the dead nits. Lice comb that is long with the tines close together would be effective. Comb your child’s hair while you have them in the bathtub. Use a soft conditioner so that the comb can go smoothly.
Head lice treatments that contain permethrin are found effective in clearing head lice. Permethrin comes in the form of either cream or lotion. When applied on the scalp, it effectively kills the lice. Follow the instructions on the label, or consult your pharmacist/doctor for the right application uses. After the treatment, remove the nits from your child’s hair using a fine-tooth comb to prevent further infestation.
Preventing head lice
Lice are spread mostly through head-to-head contact. Sharing personal items like a comb, hair brushes, and hats can also be a reason. If your child has lice, treat it properly to avoid repeated infestation.
Wash all bedding, towels, and clothing of your child in hot water. Place the bedding items that cannot be washed in an airtight bag for two weeks. Clean all hair-care items in warm soapy water. But don’t fret over extensive cleaning.
Remember head lice doesn’t mean your child has poor hygiene and it is nothing to be embarrassed about.