Tips for Health

Head Lice

By on July 2, 2012 in Diseases with 0 Comments


What are head lice?

Head lice are small insects (bugs) that can get into the hair and scalp. Lice are parasites, meaning that feed on very small amounts of blood. Lice bites cause one to scratch constantly, and can cause skin irritation or even infection.

What are the signs of head lice?

Because lice move very fast, they are not always easy to see. This is what you can expect to see:

  • Frequent scratching.
  • Small red bumps or sores on the scalp, neck and shoulders.
  • Lice eggs, which are also called nits, which look like tiny dots, oval, white or transparent. Nits, generally adhere to an angle in the hair shafts.
  • If you think someone in your family has head lice, it’s probably best to examine all family members. If you are unsure, your family doctor can help diagnose head lice.

How can I treat head lice?

Head lice can be treated with OTC products or prescription. Counter shampoos and lotions that contain pyrethrins or permethrin are commonly used to treat head lice. Shampoos and lotions that kill head lice contain pesticides and other chemicals, so it’s important to talk with your doctor before using these products, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have allergies or asthma. Nor is it safe to use products with pesticides on or near the eyes. If you find head lice or nits on the eyelashes or eyebrows, talk to your doctor.

If the counter products are ineffective, your doctor may prescribe a cream, lotion or shampoo to treat your head lice. Certain prescription products are also safer for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

The products that kill head lice, usually do not kill all the nits. To reduce the risk of another lice infestation, remove remaining lice and nits by hand or using a special comb to remove them. Comb through one section of the hair at a time, every 3 days or more often, for at least 2 weeks or until you stop seeing head lice and nits.

You should also use hot water to wash all bedding, towels and clothing that the person with head lice has been using recently. Vacuum any object that can not be washed, such as sofa, carpets, car seat and your child’s stuffed animals. Because of head lice surviving not too long away from the scalp, it is not necessary to use spray lice on these objects.


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