What is Lice?
Lice are tiny, wingless, parasitic insects that feed on your skin. Lice aren't known to transmit disease and don't have lasting effects. But they're annoying and easily spread. You or your child can have good personal hygiene habits and still get lice. Unless treated properly, this itchy infestation can become a recurring problem.
Head lice develop on your scalp. They're easiest to see at the nape of your neck and over your ears. Small nits (eggs) that resemble tiny pussy willow buds attach to your hair shafts.
Is it Lice?
Lice, in a way, resembles dandruff. Here's how to tell the difference: Wash hair. While hair is still damp, take a strand of hair that has one of these white buds on it. Hold fingers above the bud and run them down the hair shaft gently. If the bud comes off easily, it's probably dandruff. If it sticks to the hair, it's lice. Do this to several strands to be sure. If you're still not sure, call your child's doctor. Make them aware of the condition BEFORE going to their offices. DO NOT call a salon and expect them to perform a treatment. It is an extreme hazard to the salon to hair a person infected with lice expect treatment in the salon.
Signs & Symptoms
* Intense itching
* Lice on the scalp, body, clothing, or pubic or other body hair and Nits on hair shafts
The first symptom of lice is intense itching. With body lice, some people have hives and others have abrasions from scratching. Lice live only 3 days off the body. Eggs hatch in about 1 week.
Choose from several lotions and shampoos, both prescription and over-the-counter, designed to kill lice. Apply the product to all infected and hair parts of the body, except the eyelashes. Repeat treatment with the lotion or shampoo at least once daily for 7 to 10 days. After shampoo treatment, towel-dry your hair or your child's hair. Use tweezers or a fine-toothed comb to remove any remaining nits. Keep infected children home until you complete the first round of treatment.
Soak combs and brushes in very hot, soapy water for at least 5 minutes. Taking a flat iron to the nits on the hair shaft is a great way to kill the eggs instantly.
Wash bedding, stuffed animals, clothing and hats with hot, soapy water and dry them at high heat. If possible, use bleach. Vacuum carpets, mattresses, pillows, upholstered furniture and car seats.