HEAD LICE SEASON
Once again the most wonderful time of the year is here, back to school!
And with the close contact among children and their belongings head lice will be back too.
Head lice are tiny wingless, parasitic insects that live and feed on blood from your scalp. Ugh!
Common signs and symptoms of head lice may include:
-Itchy red bumps on your scalp, neck and shoulders. Some people, particularly if this is their first infestation, don’t experience itching.
-Adult lice on scalp. The most common spots are behind your ears and along the back of your neck.
-Lice eggs (nits) on hair shafts. They resemble tiny pussy willow buds. They can be mistaken for dandruff but they can’t be easily brushed out of hair.
Getting head lice isn’t a sign of bad personal hygiene or an unclean living environment. This itchy infestation, also called pediculosis capitis, most commonly spreads through close personal contact and by sharing personal belongings as hats, scarves, brushes and combs or headphones.
Head lice may sometimes be contracted by contact with contaminated towels, clothing, blankets, pillows or upholstered furniture.
The safest way to treat head lice is physically remove the lice from wet hair using a fine-toothed or nit comb. Repeat every three to four days for at least two weeks.
There is also over the counter products and shampoos. These work best if you follow the directions very closely. In some geographical locations, lice have grown resistance to the ingredients.
In Case of a severe infestation your doctor can prescribe medications but most of them are not indicated for children and can have serious side effects.
You may want to wash bedding, stuffed animals, clothing and hats with hot soapy water and dry them at high heat. Soak brushes and combs in very hot water for five to ten minutes.
Place unwashable items in an airtight bag for tree to four days. This will kill lice, and newly hatched lice will die because they have no nutrition.
Give the floor and furniture a good vacuuming.
You can ask your child not to share hats, brushes and other personal belongings at school. But it’s no realistic to expect that you and your child can eliminate all the types of contact that may result in the spread of lice.
The best approach is simply check your child scalp often and to take thorough steps to get rid of the lice and their eggs so that you don’t have more lice to deal with.