Head lice are common problem among kids especially between the ages 3-12 yrs. Lice are not so dangerous but they might cause irritation and itchiness on the head. And they are contagious too!
Picture Courtesy: Medline Plus
What is a Louse?
A Louse (Lice in plural) is a small flightless parasitic insect which lives on the bodies of humans and other mammals and infests human skin and hair.
The louse's body is flattened. The eggs, or nits, are cemented to the hair or plumage of the host, and most species spend their entire lives on the bodies of host animals. Heavy infestations cause much irritation and may lead to secondary infections. In moving from host to host, lice may spread many diseases, including tapeworm infestation in dogs and murine typhus in rats.
How can we find out lice on a person’s head?
Even though lice are very small, they can be easily seen by the naked eye. We can feel them by:
- Ticklish feeling on the head/hair
- Feeling like itching frequently
- Sores we get by scratching often
How do we get them?
Head lice are easily spreadable from one person to another. Especially when we come in contact with any infested person or use the same clothing or bed or even using the same hair brush, lice are easily transferred from that person’s head to ours. These head lice can easily be seen among school children.
Head lice mostly infect our hair. They lay tiny eggs on the hair that look like flakes of dandruff. But they don’t fall away from the scalp like dandruff and stay put.
Their lifetime is 30 days on a human being, but the eggs live for more than 2 weeks.
How to prevent them?
Make sure not to use the same hair brushes or combs, bedding, towels or clothes that a person who has head lice used.
Avoid direct contact with persons who are infested with head lice.
Parents and schools should be educated about the head lice. We should keep in mind that having head lice has nothing to do with social status or personal hygiene. It’s so common in people, especially in children.
What’s the cure?
Getting rid of head lice requires treating the individual, the family, and the household.
Treat the individual and the family -- This requires using an over-the-counter or prescription lice- killing medicine. Treat only persons who are infested. Remember that all lice-killing products are pesticides. Follow these treatment steps:
Treat the household: