Head lice (Pediculus capitis) are small parasitic insects
exquisitely adapted to living mainly on the scalp and neck hairs of
their human host. Head lice are tiny insects that live on the scalp.
They can be spread by close contact with other people. Lice are
parasitic insects that can be found on people''s heads, bodies, and
pubic area. Lice are most commonly spread by person-to-person contact.
They live on people''s heads and feed on their blood. An adult is called
a louse and is about the size of a sesame seed. The eggs, called nits,
are even smaller - almost like a dandruff flake. Head lice can survive
up to 30 days on a human. Their eggs can live for more than 2 weeks.
Lice and nits are easiest to detect at the neckline and behind the ears.
Head lice can live up to 3 days off the scalp. Although the eggs can
also survive for up to 3 days, they need a warm environment to develop.
They are not likely to hatch at room temperature. Head lice causes
intense itching, but does not lead to a serious medical problem.
Infestation is marked by tiny red spots on the scalp. Lice may be
visible in the hair behind the ears and at the nape of the neck as
these are favourite spots for infestations. Children may have head lice
for several weeks with no symptoms. Small, red bumps or sores from
scratching. For some kids, the irritation is mild; for others, a more
bothersome rash with crusting and oozing may develop. Treatment is
recommended if even one egg is found. Lotions and shampoos containing
permethrin are usually effective.
Medicated lice treatments can usually kill the lice and nits, but it
may take a few days for the itching to stop. Never share hair brushes,
combs, hair pieces, hats, bedding, towels, or clothing with someone who
has head lice. wash the hair as normal using an ordinary shampoo,apply
conditioner liberally to wet hair (this causes the lice to lose their
grip on the hair). Don''t use more than one head lice medication at a
time. Don''t use sprays or hire a pest control company to try to get rid
of the lice, as they can be harmful. Do not use a creme rinse or
combination shampoo/conditioner before using lice medicine. Do not
re-wash hair for 1-2 days after treatment. Never use gasoline or
kerosene. Metal combs with very fine teeth are stronger and more
effective than plastic nit combs.
Head Lice Treatment Tips
1. Do not use medicated lotions or rinses.
2. Regular combing of hair using the bug-busting method can help with early detection.
3. Before applying treatment, remove all clothing from the waist up.
4. Don''t use a hair dryer on your child''s hair after applying any of the currently available scalp treatments.
5. Apply lice medicine, also called pediculicide , according to label instructions.
6. Nit combs, often found in lice medicine packages, should be used to comb nits and lice from the hair shaft .