Tips To Treating Head Lice In Children

Head lice are one of the most frustrating, annoying and high-maintenance averse health conditions to befall us, but chances are if you have a school-aged child, you will have to tackle the louse at some point in your parental life. They are a very common problem, particularly for children aged three to 12 years. Girls are more susceptible, but boys are certainly not immune. Regardless, treating head lice in children is extremely important to prevent future issues.

The head louse is a very small, wingless parasite that lives on human hair and feeds on blood from the scalp – very small amounts of blood, but enough to cause inflammation and intense itchiness. Those infected with head lice tend to itch incessantly, which can lead to further skin irritation and possible infection. Although lice aren’t dangerous and do not spread disease, they are highly contagious and because of this, can wreak havoc on a family or classroom. Typical methods of infection are through head-to-head contact as well as the sharing of beds, pillows, hats, combs, or brushes. Lice spread very quickly from person to person, especially in group settings, and although they can’t fly or jump, they are highly effective crawlers. Their claws allow them to cling firmly to hair and using a simple shampoo will not budge them. Itching and scratching are the hallmark symptoms of a head lice infection. Your child may feel some tickling on their scalp before the itching actually begins, but that’s not always the case.

Concerned that your child has head lice? Despite their miniscule size, they are visible. If you see tiny yellow, tan or brown dots, this could be lice eggs, otherwise known as “nits.” Nits are laid close the scalp and leave behind a white shell when hatched. You may mistake nits for dandruff at first, but unlike flakes of dandruff, nits cannot be shaken off or brushed out. Nits are one of the most common indicators of a head lice infection because they are often more visible than the lice themselves. The crawling adult louse is the size of a sesame seed.

It’s important to treat head lice as soon you’re certain your child’s hair has been infested because they will not go away on their own – to the contrary, they will only get worse. Leaving lice in the hair for an extended period could result in an infection from your child’s continual scratching and damage to the scalp. Once the case of head lice has been verified by a doctor, alert the school or daycare immediately so they can take precautions to prevent further infestation.

Treatment will likely include a cream rinse, medicated shampoo or location. There are some over-the-counter treatments available, but depending on the severity of the infestation or resistance to previous treatment, your physician may provide a prescription. Because these medicines are insecticides, it’s important that you follow the instructions carefully, particularly related to dosages.

Make sure your child understands that head lice are not an indication of poor hygiene. Head lice actually settle themselves better on clean hair because they attach themselves best on strands or shafts that have healthy levels of oil. Also make sure your child knows how to prevent another case in the future.

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