Head Lice 101
Head lice is very common, second only to colds. It affects about 2 in every 100 elementary school children at all times. ..So lets assume the threat is there ALWAYS. Here’s some head lice 101:
Head lice are generally found on the scalp, around the ears, and at the back of the neck. The adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed and can be the color of your child’s hair. Eggs (nits), are smaller and usually BROWN in color once pulled off the hair shaft.
Lice are not a sign of poor hygiene and they do not transmit disease. Spread from one child to another can occur during direct head to head (or hair) contact and from the shared use of personal items such as brushes, combs, hair ties, or hats.
Symptoms of Infestation:
§ Itching, the most common symptom, is caused by an allergic reaction to saliva left behind when a louse bites the scalp.
§ The appearance of nits (lice eggs) in the hair. Nits are shaped like a rain drop, attach tightly to one side of the hair shaft, and are always same size. They will not move easily; you will need to scrape it off with finger nails. Their color ranges from translucent to dark brown and always shiny. If something looks milky white & dull, and/or can easily be moved, it is most likely dandruff or product build up.
§ Rash behind the ears or at the base of the neck, caused by scratching lice bites.
In the Event of Infestation
§ Have the infected person examined to ensure that head lice IS present, preferably with a lice comb. Other family members should also be examined as a precaution. If unsure, or want confirmation, call Us.
§ Manually remove all lice and nits from the hair using a fine toothed lice comb. Shampooing alone with ANY lice killing product, prescription shampoo, or home remedy such as mayonnaise, vinegar, olive oil, cetaphil, etc. will not kill or remove nits. See our blog post “Home Remedies To Treat Head Lice - Do They Work” . Every nit needs to be manually removed or risk recurrence.
§ Contact a professional lice removal service to ease any frustrations or apprehension that may arise. Peace of mind is a phone call away.
§ Hint: Over the counter and prescription shampoos are pesticides and are ineffective on the evolved “Superlice”. Do not use these shampoos on those under 2 and pregnant or lactating women. The Harvard School of Public Health and the Academy of Pediatrics recommend manual lice and nit removal with a professional lice comb as the most effective & safe method of complete lice removal. Again, EVERY nit has to be removed, so get the right tools and education, or better yet (again) call the professionals.
§ “Be a friend, tell a friend” Notify family members, close friends, and anyone having close regular contact. Avoid reinfestation.
§ IF you are cleared by a professional or the school nurse now is the time to invest in lice prevention products. Use daily especially during an outbreak.
§ Lice do not fly or jump. They crawl.
§ Without human blood, a louse will die within 24-48 hours.
§ All socio-economic groups and races are susceptible to lice.
§ Lice only attach to human heads and cannot live on a nonhuman host.
§ Lice are just as likely to inhabit clean hair as they are dirty hair.