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Home / Online Resources / Medical Resource Guide: Checking and Treating for Head Lice

Medical Resource Guide: Checking and Treating for Head Lice

By Zaf Udin 01/05/2012 Google+

Head lice are extremely small insects that are spread through contact with other infected people. The insects live in the hair on the scalp of the person, and sometimes move to the eyelashes and eyebrows. They can live up to 30 days on a human head, and spread quickly. Head lice can spread quickly in populated areas such as schools, day cares, and other places that people visit. The home is another place where the family can spread it quickly from one person to another. There are approximately 6 to 12 million outbreaks of head lice each and every year that occur in children between the ages of 3 to 11 years old throughout the United States. Although the exact number of cases is unknown, there continues to be an increased amount of people that obtain head lice each year, and many of these people are young children.

Checking for Head Lice

Checking for head lice is something that needs to be done if there is an infestation within a child's school setting, or if you suspect that they might have lice. It is not hard to do, and some people can spot them quickly. Using a fine tipped comb, work your way through the hair. There are lice and then there are eggs. You want to rid the hair of both of these since they can both be harmful and continue to spread.
What To Look For

Lice are the size of a tiny seed, such as a sesame seed. They are normally dark red, brown, or clear tan colored. They have six legs and claws at the ends of them. This might not be seen unless using a magnifying glass to check the head. Lice cannot fly, or even jump from the head, but they run very fast from light. Lice eggs, or nits, are extremely small. They are about the same size as a grain of sand. They are normally translucent or opal white in color. Dandruff and dry hair products can sometimes be mistaken for nits. Nits are generally firmly attached to the hair shaft, unlike the other products that you might find on the skull that can easily be blown away.
How To Check

Use a bright light and magnifying glass while looking at the hair and on the scalp. You will want to use a pick, toothpick, comb, or other item that you can throw away after you have checked the hair. You should look for the above mentioned lice or nits within the hair. To check if the nits in the hair are dead or alive, you can take one of the nits in question and try to pop it between your fingers. If it pops then it was most likely alive, and if it just crumples then it was dead. Another indicator to show if the nit is alive or dead is if the nit is closer to the scalp it is more likely alive, and if it is father down the shaft of the hair and brown then it is most likely dead. Knowing if the nits are alive or dead will help you determine if the person still has an infestation of lice.

Treating Hair for head lice

Once the head is checked, and if head lice were found then they need to be treated. Removing the head lice as soon as possible can help prevent the spread of the tiny insect, while also helping relieve the itching on the person that is infested with the lice.

The medical remedies for treating lice are normally chemical based and over the counter. One of the products is Nix that kills the lice after two treatments. This has been proven to be effective at managing and getting rid of head lice. You can also get other types of chemicals that are used the same way as Nix. You have to follow the initial treatment up to ensure that all of the lice and nits were covered. A fine toothed comb should be used to remove the nits and lice from the hair.
Home Remedies

There are also many different home remedies that can be done to rid the head of lice. These methods are not proven to be affected, but they might help remove the lice and nits. Although the remedies might seem silly, they have helped many people battle head lice. Some of the items that were used include: kerosene, tomato sauce, mayonnaise, dish soap, vegetable oil, mouth wash, and lysol cleaner solution. They should be placed on the head, soaked in and then rinsed out. The treatment should be repeated again in a couple of days.

Treating Home for Head Lice

Head lice spreads from one head to another, and can easily spread from one person's head to pillows, furniture, toys, and much more. This is why delousing the home is essential to stop the outbreak. You will want to wash all of the linens, rugs, furniture, everything with hot water and soap to remove the lice and nits from the home. All of the toys and other items should be bleached down with hot water and bleach. Making sure to rid the home of these lice is essential to making sure that it does not spread or re-start.

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