How do I know if I have lice and How do I get rid of head lice and treat myself and my family? Symptoms of head lice include your neck and scalp area is very itchy and you may see signs of the lice or their empty egg shells.
Some times the itching does not get serious until the lice are well advanced throughout the hair and scalp. Anyone can get lice, but most commonly in young children between the ages of 4-11 through contact at school.
There are many myths about jumping, hopping and swimming lice. Lice can only travel through head to head contact and on clothing such as hats or on pillows. Lice cannot live very long once they are away from the scalp.
Head lice can be very annoying and are contagious, but not dangerous. The actual lice are wingless insects (like picture above) and are about 1-3mm in length when fully grown. They can be a black, grey or brown in colour.
The female lice lay her eggs on human heads, very close to the scalp. The eggs will then hatch 7-10 days later. Once the eggs have hatched they will leave empty shells called nits on the hair shaft, these shells will not come out of the hair easily and will need special treatment.
Once you have determined that you are infected with lice, you must treat as soon as possible; here are a few recommended treatments to use..
Lotions, liquids and shampoos are all available in the range of insecticides. If you suffer from eczema, asthma, have young children infected or if you are pregnant or breast feeding the alcohol based insecticides are not recommended, use water based ones instead.
Follow all directions carefully. The lotions are usually applied to the scalp area and the hair, thoroughly combed through and left for the recommended time.
The insecticides will kill the living lice, but may not kill the eggs; you should always do a follow up treatment a week later to kill any remaining lice. Also wash out brushes, pillows, bedding and hats.
On wet hair and using a fine toothed comb this method can be done regularly, every four days is recommended and for about 2 weeks after first noticing lice. It’s important to continue the treatment until you do not see any lice or eggs coming out in the comb.
This method is also good to comb out the empty shells “nits”.
Prevention can be maintained by checking you and your family, if any live lice are found treat them straight away. Let other parents know if your child is infected as they can also treat their child to prevent any further outbreaks.
Thing to remember
If you or your child gets lice it does not mean you are dirty or unclean, it is embarrassing but anyone can get them. Don’t use different treatment products at the same time as they can be very strong.
If the treatment of lice seems to be going on and on, don’t give up, keep up with the prevention tips and treatments, soon you and your family will be lice free.