Lice. The simple fact of mentioning this little four-letter word can make everyone panic. Who wants these crawling little creatures on their heads and suck the blood from their scalp?
However, this happens to the best and most cautious of us.
Lice are tiny insects the size of a sesame seed that lives in the hair and on the scalp. They feed on human blood and die quickly if they fall from the body. But what are the most practical ways to get rid of lice?
Since lice can crawl and stay out of your head for only 24 hours, most infestations come from direct head-to-head contact. If someone you know has lice, they may have acquired it from a friend, family member, or stranger who was in close contact with them. Everyday items such as hats or brushes can facilitate the transfer.
Everyday situations that can lead to a lice infestation include being at school, for children, sitting close to others, or sleeping in the same bed, such as during a slumber party, sharing combs, brushes, or towels.
Start the treatment with the anti-lice shampoo. Many options available without a prescription are readily available. Follow the directions on the package, which may require the shampoo to remain on the scalp for several minutes. After shampooing, the affected person should wear clean clothes. Machine rinsing the clothes with hot water or in a hot dryer kills lice.
Wearing dirty clothes can help head lice go back to the head and reinfest the scalp. Most lice treatments should be repeated several days after the first application. In addition to this treatment, check the scalp after 8-12 hours. Lice must be lifeless or dying, not active or crawling on the skin surface.
If the lice are still active, people should call the doctor. Different treatments may be necessary, as lice may be rebellious to certain treatments. People should avoid retreating their scalp without consulting a doctor. Undoubtedly, treatments close together can irritate the scalp and may not work.
If the treatment is not killing all the eggs, use a fine-toothed comb to comb out all the nits. People should start combing at the top of the head, working down to the neck and one side of the head, then on the other side. Even if the shampoo promises to kill the eggs, removing the lice by hand can speed up the process and decrease the chance of reinfestation.
In order to remove the eggs most effectively, use the nit comb on the scalp daily for at least a week. This ensures that, even if some eggs are not noticed, all or most of them are removed at the end.
The delousing shampoo does little to prevent the reinfestation of lice. Lice cannot jump. Instead, they spread through close or direct contact with infected people or objects. Lice die soon after falling from the human head. However, organisms that have had direct, immediate contact with someone are likely to spread lice.
There is no reason to worry about clothes worn several days ago, carpets or furniture.
However, the following strategies can reduce the risk of spreading lice to another person or be reinfested:
Vacuum furniture and rugs, especially if someone with lice often lies on them.
Soak the combs, brushes, and any other hair tools in hot water for 5-10 minutes. For added protection, consider replacing it.
Wash shawls, caps, and other clothing that comes in direct contact with the head. Running the clothes in the dryer is useful if the clothes cannot be washed safely.
Wash or replace cushions and pillowcases.
It can be time-consuming and frustrating, washing many different items. However, head lice will return even if a handful of nits move back on the head. The extra time now can save you more time in the following weeks!