Every parent shudders at the term head lice. In reality, lice infections are common, especially if you have children who attend school or events in close proximity to other kids. Learn how to recognize head lice so that you can begin treatment as soon as possible.
When checking for head lice, it is important to check more than just the head. You should also examine the neck and ears for signs of an infestation. If you are concerned about head lice exposure, check the appropriate areas for lice for six weeks after the initial exposure.
1. Small White Objects in the Hair
Lice eggs, better known as nits, are part of the lice's life cycle. If you or your child have nits, they appear as small, round dots. The nits are sticky and difficult to brush out of your hair. A nit almost appears as if it is glued to a strand of hair.
2. Tiny Brown Bugs
When examining the head and other areas for head lice, search for tiny brown bugs that are approximately the size of a sesame seed. Like the nits, these lice are difficult to comb out of the hair. They will also appear to be moving.
3. Secondary Signs
Sometimes, especially with mild cases of head lice, it is difficult to spot lice or their nits. Learn to recognize some of the secondary signs of head lice, such as itchiness, sores, a tickling sensation on the head, red bumps around the head, neck, and ears, and problems sleeping. Some people may also become irritable due to the discomfort caused by the lice.
If you suspect head lice, use an over-the-counter lice treatment product to treat the lice as soon as possible. Make sure to follow the instructions, especially when it comes to how long to leave the product on and how often the treatment should be repeated to make sure all of the lice are killed.
Many find that combining chemical treatment with the use of a lice comb is effective. Lice combs physically remove nits and lice from the head. However, it isn't advisable to just use a lice comb, as manually combing out every lice and nit is a bit tricky. Using the two treatments in conjunction with another is a much more viable alternative.
Don't forget to treat your home and clothing during an infestation. Vacuum your floor and furniture to remove lice and their nits. Make sure to wash towels, bedding, clothing, and stuffed animals in hot water. Dry them on a hot heat setting. If something cannot be washed on high heat, encase it in a sealed plastic bag for two weeks.
In cases of severe lice infestation, consider visiting a physician for prescription treatment alternatives.
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