Health Risks: Recognizing The Onset Of Headlice And How To Treat It

Head lice is a common problem, no matter what your social status. Here are some ways to recognize it and how to treat it.

The thought of having bugs in our hair is one thing that makes most people, young or old, cringe in disgust. The only thing you want upon discovering that you have head lice is to get rid of them immediately. At first onset, you can be walking around with lice in your hair and never know it. People have itches every day and often pay them no attention at all. After a couple of days, you may start noticing your head itching around the tops and backs of your ears, the crown of your head, or even the back of your neck. You can have someone check to see if you have head lice, but they should either wear gloves, or use a pencil or another object to lift the hair for examination. Head lice are very tiny and look like a small ink mark or pencil mark, on the scalp. They are difficult to see, but their eggs are slightly more visible. These tiny little eggs look like white specks of dandruff, but cannot be easily blown or brushed away, since they are actually attached to the hair, often in groups.

Head lice has long produced ideas of unclean people with filthy hair and poor hygiene habits, but such is not usually the case. Head lice love hair, clean or dirty, and from any nationality, although Caucasians are more susceptible than other nationalities. And children are more likely to get the head lice, then bring it home to family. Head lice travels from one infected person to another by hugging, running one's hands through someone's hair, sharing hats or combs, or just sitting in a chair where an infected person was sitting previously. Head lice cases rise considerably at the beginning of each school year, since one infected child can pass the lice on to dozens of kids, who pass it on to dozens more.

Pesticides made especially for hair must be used to rid yourself of the lice. Home made remedies like mayonnaise are not only ineffective, but also dangerous. Mayonnaise which has been on your head overnight can produce e-coli bacteria which is extremely harmful. Over-the-counter shampoos, rinses and styling creams are available for ridding your hair of the lice. Usually you will apply, wait a specified amount of time, then rinse the shampoo or other application from your hair. Now the tedious part begins. Nits, or lice eggs, must be removed from the hair by using a special comb, or by pulling each one off of the hair shaft. This is an extremely time consuming effort but is necessary to prevent re-infestation. You can also buy foams and creams that are applied to the hair which turn the eggs a certain color. This makes them easier to spot for removal. After treating the hair, all clothing, bedding, brushes and other hair products must be treated. You can either wash them in scalding water, then place in a very hot dryer, or for items which can't be laundered, you can tie them up in a plastic bag for a week.



They also have sprays which can be used to treat the furniture of your home, brushes, and car seats. Many people treat their home but forget about their vehicle, causing a further out break in a few days. Don't forget to treat coats, hats, sofa throw pillows, and hair clips with the sprays.

The treatments often require a second application in 10 to 14 days, to make sure the infestation has been removed completely. Many people eliminate this second treatment, but it's not wise to do so. After treating the hair, you're usually lice-proof for about 14 days, but to keep from getting it again, teach your kids not to share brushes, hats or other personal items. And, during the beginning of each school year, when outbreaks are more common, have children come home, undress and get a shower right after school. Isolate the clothing in the laundry room and launder as soon as possible. This helps prevent the lice from having enough time to get well attached and begin laying eggs. Blow drying the hair is also helpful, since lice don't like heat.

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