Head Lice

Head Lice

Head lice is a common problem that usually affects pre-school, children, and their family members. These insects attach to the hair of a

They can infect children from all socioeconomic strata.

Generally, head lice don’t cause any serious illness, but they are a very common cause of intense itching, sleep disturbances; however, a secondary bacterial infection of the skin resulting from scratching can occur with any lice infestation.

What is a head lice?

They are tiny insects around  2–3 mm long. Their bodies are usually pale and gray. Bigger insects are called a louse. Louse lays  lay eggs which are called “nits “ they look very small  about the size of a knot in the thread 

 Eggs attach to the hair with a sticky substance which holds them strongly to hair. After some time new louse comes out of the egg. This cycle can repeat itself every 3 weeks if head lice are left untreated. The louse  sucks small amounts of blood from the scalp as its feed

How it spreads ??

It mainly spreads by direct contact with the hair of an infested person. The most common method is prolonged head-to-head contact with a person who already has head lice. Such contact can be common among children during play at any place like  School, Home, and e.g., sports activities, playgrounds, camp,.

A minority of cases  transmission may occur by

  • Wearing clothing, such as scarves, coats, hats, or hair ribbons were worn by an infected person;
  • Using infested combs, brushes, or towels.

What are the symptoms of head lice?

Itching  is the most common symptoms. it appears  4 to 6 weeks after lice first attaches to the hair. Itching occurs when the saliva of lice reacts with the scalp. Most commonly the itching occurs behind the ears or at the back of the neck. Other symptoms can be disturbed sleep, tickling,  feeling of something moving in the hair, sores on the head caused by scratching. These sores can sometimes become secondarily infected with bacteria.

Head Lice: Signs, Symptoms, and Complications

How is head lice infestation diagnosed?

Look for lice and eggs on the scalp, behind the ears, and around the nape of the neck. Diagnosis is best made by finding a live insect louse on the scalp or hair of a person. It’s difficult to find them as they are very small and move quickly, as they avoid light. The use of a magnifying lens and a fine-toothed comb might help in diagnosing this infestation.

Another method is to apply shampoo and conditioner and then using fine-toothed comb on wet hair. You can wipe the comb onto a tissue or paper towel where it will be easier to see them

How is head lice infestation treated?

Contact your doctor for the treatment as various drugs are available over the counter but all drugs are not recommended for all age groups. 

What else do I need to know about treating head lice?

  • wash your child’s clothes, towels, hats, and bed linens in hot water and dry on high heat. no need to throw these items. Items that can not be washed may be dry-cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag for 2 weeks.
  • No need to spray pesticides at home. They can expose your family to dangerous chemicals and are not needed when you treat your child’s scalp and hair properly.
  • All household members and close contacts must be simultaneously checked and treated.

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