Head lice are most common in school-aged children and millions of children ages 3 to 11 contract lice each year.
Lice are not only common but also difficult to get rid of. A recent study published in the Pediatric Dermatology journal found that common over-the-counter (OTC) lice treatments and not effective anymore. They included products containing pyrethroids and insecticides.
So, what to do? Let's find out what you can do to get rid of head lice.
What are lice?
The head lice is a small parasite inside there is found on the head, eyelashes, and eyebrows. They can crawl but cannot fly jump. They feed on human blood. They stay close to the scalp. Besides kids, they can also infect adults.
You will find them in 3 forms-lice eggs or nits, baby lice or nymphs, and adult lice. The eggs are tiny yellow, tan or brown speckles that look similar to dandruff. The white or clear shell becomes easier to spot after the eggs hatch.
Head to head contact
the head lice latch onto the head. Preschool and elementary-aged children are more likely to get them. Young children are more at risk because they spend a lot of time in contact with other children who may have a head lice infestation. Your kids may also get them from sharing clothing or other belongings like brushes and hats.
If your kids have had lice, you will see a few symptoms, which include
- itchy scalp
- tickling or a feeling of something crawling on the scalp
- Head sores from scratching
- irritability and trouble sleeping
Effective medical treatment
Effective medical treatment for head lice is present. The doctor may prescribe a medicated shampoo, lotion, or cream for killing the insects. After starting the medication, you may still have an itch for a few days. Sometimes, oral medication is also used if the topical treatments do not work.
With children aged 2 months and under, removing the head lice by hand is necessary. There are some home remedies that are used by many people. Such home remedies include using petroleum jelly, essential oils and mayonnaise may work but most of the time they are not effective. They are also not good for you because they can irritate the skin and may make symptoms worse.
Wet combing or repeated hair combing using a rinse, olive oil, or vinegar is used with younger children. It is an effective method of removing head lice. However, you will need to repeat this every 3 to 4 days for up to 2 weeks.
You can take a few steps to prevent infestation of head lice-
- Wash is all the clothing and bed linens in hot water. Also used the hottest setting of the machine to dry them.
- If there are some stuffed animal toys and other items that cannot be washed, you can take them to the dry cleaner. You can also store them in airtight bags for 2 weeks.
- You can vacuum all carpets in your home and cars. You can also vacuum any upholstered furniture.
- Take combs, hair ties, and brushes and soak them in hot water for 5 to 10 minutes