Head Lice Treatment and CareTips

Head lice are tiny, wingless, parasitic insects that live and feed on blood from your scalp. Many people get head lice in the United States each year. Head lice are tiny (pin-head sized) grey-brown, wingless insects, which live by sucking blood from the scalp. Their eggs are known as nits and they are laid glued to the base of hairs, and look like tiny white specks. The eggs hatch after 7 to 10 days, and 10 to 14 days after hatching the lice are mature and between 2 and 4 mm long (the size of a sesame seed). Head lice are common in schoolchildren, particularly between the ages of 4 and 11, but anyone with hair can catch them. The earliest and most common symptom of a head lice infestation is itching, particularly in the area behind the ears and at the nape of the neck.

Head Lice Symptoms

The main symptom of a head lice infestation is an itchy scalp from the bites of the lice. These bites can then become infected, and may appear red or crusty, and may lead to your child developing swollen lymph glands in his neck.

Are Lice Contagious?

Lice are highly contagious and can spread quickly from person to person, especially in group settings (schools, child-care centers, slumber parties, sports activities, camps, and even playgrounds).

Aromatherapy has been frequently used to treat for lice, but this has not been confirmed as a viable treatment. Herbal treatments ( tea tree oil) are sometimes used to treat head lice. Avoid head-to-head contact common during play at school and at home. Do not lie on beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have recently been in contact with an infested person. Do not share clothing, such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, or hair ribbons. Don’t leave the shampoo or rinse in hair longer than directed. Rinse hair well after the treatment. Regular combing of hair using the bug-busting method can help with early detection as well as treatment. If your child has long hair, tie it back as this helps to reduce the likelihood of contact between their hair and that of an infected child.

How do you get head lice?

Head lice may occur in anyone but are most common in children aged 4-11 because of their close contact with each other at school.

Girls seem to be more prone to head lice than boys. Researchers think this is because girls are more likely to put their heads together when they are playing or working.

The lice are usually passed on via head to head contact. However, head lice cannot survive for long when away from the scalp and those found away from the head are usually dying.

Always keep your hair well-groomed and clean by using the suitable shampoo.

Add 1 tsp of garlic paste in 1 tsp of limejuice, and to apply it all over the scalp.

Medicated lotion or rinse

Ask your pharmacist for an over-the-counter (OTC) insecticide lotion or crème rinse. Only use a lotion if you find a living (moving) head louse. Apply the preparation according to the instructions, and remove the lice and eggs with a fine-toothed nit comb. You should take care when applying treatment because the preparations are usually toxic