Head Lice Infestation: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention
Does the word ‘lice’ itch your head? Do you feel like scratching your head for a while to see if the lice have really invaded your hairy realm? Head lice no doubt survive by feeding on your blood. Unlike other pests, these pests don’t carry or spread diseases but cause a great deal of distress and discomfort. Every year, nearly 6 to 12 million children aged 3-11 in the US get lice infestation.
In this blog, learn everything you need to about head lice.
What Are Head Lice?
Head lice are small, sesame-sized, wingless insects. They live in the human hair and feed blood for their survival. A nit or louse egg is the size of dandruff.
What Causes Head Lice?
Head lice are very contagious. You can get it from the infected person in a matter of seconds. The following are the ways you could get head lice:
- Sharing items with someone having head lice.
- Bringing your head close to the infected person’s head.
- Using a fabric item already used by a person with lice.
In a nutshell, transmission by inanimate objects is possible. But head-to-head contact is what contributes more in this regard. That’s why children are always at the receiving end of this problem as they indulge in group games that involve many. There is also an increased risk of lice for people who work with children regularly like preschool or elementary school teachers.
What Are the Symptoms of Head Lice?
Extreme scalp itchiness.
Feeling that something is moving on your scalp.
Sores and scabs due to repeated scratching.
How to Diagnose Head Lice?
To trace lice, you can rely on the below methods.
- Checking your hair close to the scalp for nits and lice.
- Using a fine-toothed lice comb and running through your hair from the scalp.
Nits and Adults
Nits are dark-colored; you are mostly to find nits if you have lice already. And also it’s very easy to differentiate knits from other debris like dandruff in the hair. They stick to your hair without moving, whereas adult lice move quickly from place to place and are difficult to catch.
Lice are very contagious. If one person in the room gets it, it doesn’t take long for another to contract it. It’s good to keep checking it for signs so that you can take precautions beforehand.
How Are Lice Treated?
There are several ways to treat lice. Some of the major treatments for head lice are as below.
There are over-the-counter and prescriptions for lice treatment. There are two types of chemicals commonly used in head lice treatment.
Pyrethrin is a pesticide that can be used by anyone above age 2. Go for a trial before finalizing.
Permethrin is similar to pyrethrin and can be used by anyone.
Lindane is an organochlorine. It is available in shampoos and lotions. However, consider this as your last resort because it can sometimes cause serious side effects. It shouldn’t be used on premature babies and people who have a history of seizures.
Reduce the risk of side effects by:
- Avoiding using multiple medications at the same time.
- Eliminating over usage of medication.
Natural Lice spray
There are lice spray that are 100% natural and safe. They work well without leaving any side effects. Try Flint natural lice spray made of natural ingredients that don’t harm children, pets and successfully eliminate head lice.
Reasons why natural spray is the ideal solution:
- Natural and non-toxic
- Prevent stains
- Zero side-effects
- Easy way to kill lice
Treating at Home
There’s no need to use pesticides to kill lice. Lice can’t survive more than a couple of days off your head. The following are the methods to kill lice:
- Wash clothes and bedding in hot water and dry on hot heat.
- Dry-clean clothes and bedding.
- Soak hair brushes, combs, barrettes, and other hair accessories in the hot water.
- Vacuum floor and furniture.
Fast Facts on Head Lice
- Head lice are common among children aged 10 years and under.
- Lice can’t fly or jump but they can move quickly from one person’s head to another. They cover up to 9 inches a minute.
- Lice need blood to survive. They starve and die without blood within 2 days.
- Head lice are usually contracted from another person through a head-to-head contract.
If you want to avoid using pesticides, use a flea comb to remove lice. Apply oil to your hair before combing. This helps nits to stick to the comb easily.
Start combing from your scalp and till the hair ends. Do this every 2-3 days if your hair is heavily infested by lice.
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