You have heard of other people who have had it, you think that every homeless person must be teaming with it but, you never thought it would happen to you or your kids. Unfortunately, it did happen; lice. Whether you discovered it on your own or you had the painful experience of the school nurse be the one to break it to you, your family has lice. Now, how do you handle it?
Most people at some time in their lives have had lice. Maybe you remember what your mom did when you were little or you have gotten advice from friends. But, the best way to treat lice and treat it quickly is to get the facts and do it right and to understand what you are dealing with.
What is head lice? Head lice is not dangerous and they do not spread disease. They are a small wingless parasitic insect that live among human hair and feed on small amounts of blood drawn from the scalp. They are very common especially for children between the ages of 3 and 12 but bothersome do to the itching their bites cause. While boys can get lice, girls get it more often.
There a several signs of lice that you should always look out for when your kids are coming into contact with other kids such as a school setting. One of the most obvious signs is scratching of the scalp. Lice and nits are very hard to see and can easily be overlooked during everyday grooming rituals. However, you might notice your child start scratching their head on a regular basis. The itching might not start right away but, it depends on how sensitive your child’s skin is to the lice. It can sometimes take weeks for the itching to begin.
Keep your eyes out for nits which are lice eggs. They are small, yellow, tan or brown before they hatch. After they have hatched the shells may be white or appear clear. Nits can be seen with the naked eye on the shafts of the hair close but not always to the skin’s surface. AN easy way to tell the difference between nits and dandruff is to check to see if they will easily brush off the hair. Dandruff will brush of but nits will not. They can also be felt between the fingers unlike dandruff. It is more common to see nits on the child’s hair then it is to see live insects crawling around the scalp unless the infestation is extremely heavy. Nits will hatch one to two weeks after they are laid.
Adult lice or nymphs, which are babies are no bigger then a sesame seed. They are typically tan. Nymphs become adults one to two weeks after they hatch. All lice need a constant heat and food supply that is found through the scalp but, they can survive up to two days off the scalp.
Once you have determined that your child definitely has lice it is time to treat it. The best way to do this is to research your options. You might want to call your doctor and see what they suggest. But, be careful of just trying things through word of mouth. Sometimes those around you might not be giving you the best advice.
Treating Head Lice so it Won’t Come Back
Several misconceptions are associated with head lice both in their nature and in their treatment. Once you realize that there is head lice repent within the home, you need to be realistic about what you are dealing with and treat the problem correctly.
Many myths are associated with the nature of head lice and how they affect people. Head lice do not transmit communicable diseases. Some are under the impression that lice can jump or fly. Lice do not have wings so they are unable to fly but the do crawl. They are only passed from person to person through direct contact or direct contact with infested clothes, hair products like combs or brushes, bedding, towels, or even shower caps. Another misconception is how long they live off of their host. Head lice are completely dependant on their host for nourishment and warmth. Their only source of food is human blood which they draw from the scalp. They will typically live for up to thirty days but they can only survive off of their host for up to 24 hours. Also, it is thought that people with short hair are almost immune to lice which is not the case. Lice do not have a preference to age of their host, race, sex, personal hygiene or length of hair. Plus, head lice are a human parasite and are not transferred by animals.
Treating head lice should be done with regard to what the infested person has come into contact with. After treating their hair with medicated shampoo and combing out all of the nits and lice, careful consideration should be taken in regards to what the infected person has come into contact with. Things that are able to be washed in the washer machine like clothes and bedding should be washed in hot water. Exposing lice and nits to temperatures above 125 degrees F for 10 minutes is lethal. Things that are not washer machine safe can be thrown into the dryer on the hot cycle for 20 minutes for the same results. You can also choose the option of dry cleaning your things or placing them in an airtight bag for two weeks. You can clean combs and brushes by placing them in a pan of hot water and heat them on the stove for about 10 minutes at 150 degrees F. If heating your brushes or combs in this way could damage them, you can place them in phenol solution like Lysol and soak them for an hour. You should also thoroughly vacuum or clean carpets, car seats and interiors of cars and furniture upholstery. You should also thoroughly vacuum the mattress of the infected person. Fumigating your home and using insecticidal sprays on furniture or carpets is not necessary or recommended for killing head lice.
Many people do not treat lice in the proper way in order to get rid of the problem sufficiently. This will lead to an infestation. But, by taking proper steps to rid your home of them, you can be sure that you can stop the problem before it really starts.