Head Lice

 

Head Lice

 

By Dr. Jonathan Halevy

 

 

 

 

Head lice are small wingless insects that can get on the hair and scalp of humans. Head lice do not jump or fly. They usually pass from head-to-head contact, and probably also from sharing hats, combs, and brushes.  Outbreaks of head lice are most common in school-aged children.


Signs of Head Lice

 

The most common sign is frequent head scratching.


Lice are not always easy to see. You might first notice nits (lice eggs). Female lice “glue” their nits to hair shafts. The nits are tiny, oval shaped, and “stuck” at an angle on hair shafts. Look for nits anywhere in the hair.

 

Many things might be mistaken for lice (such as debris of sprays or shampoos, dandruff, hair casts…) You might need a doctor’s or Nurse’s assistance in diagnosing lice. All members of the household should be checked for lice (including nannies)

Getting Rid of Head Lice


Killing Head Lice: If you use a shampoo or lotion that kills lice, follow the package directions carefully.


If you are pregnant or nursing a baby – consult with your doctor before use. Products with pesticides in them should not be used on or near the eyes. A second treatment after 7 days is sometimes recommended.


Example of such products are: Premethrine 1%; Crotamiton (Eurax); Ylang shampoo; Lindane 1% (not recommended for use in children) If the product you use does not get rid of the lice, taking them off by hand is often the next best choice.


365_0.jpgNit Removal: No matter what product you use, it will not kill all of the nits. Removing the remaining nits by hand or with a lice and nit removal comb is part of the treatment and may reduce the risk of lice coming back. Carefully comb through all of the hair one section at a time. Comb through the hair every three days (or more often—for at least two weeks) until you stop finding lice or nits.


Cleaning Your Home: Head lice need human blood to survive. They do not live over 48 hours  if they are not on a human head. Lice do not infest your home. Therefore, hot-water washing of bed linens, towels, and recently worn clothing is all you have to do. Use a vacuum cleaner on anything that cannot be washed, such as the couch, your child's car seat, and stuffed animals. You do not need to use a lice spray on these items.


After Treatment
No treatment for head lice is 100 percent effective. Therefore, keep looking for head lice and nits, and keep using the lice and nit removal comb. Continued itching does not necessarily mean that head lice are present. It takes a while for the itching to stop. If the scalp looks irritated from treatments or scratching, consult with your doctor.

 

Dr_Jonathan-Halevy.jpg

Dr. Jonathan Halevy

Pediatrician

 

Perhaps the most well-known figure at Family Medical Practice thanks to frequently posting pediatric advice on social media, Dr. Jonathan describes his gravitation toward the discipline as soul-marking. Starting out by caring for several younger brothers and sisters while growing up in his native Israel, the pediatric ward already felt like home by the time he was a resident—and his subsequent career largely revolved around the discipline, with various excursions in intensive care and trauma & life support

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