Head lice is known to mostly affect school age children. The close proximity in school classrooms and playgrounds put them at higher risk with head-to-head contact with their peers. Before you panic because you just found out your child has lice, there are a variety of things you should now. First, lice do not carry disease or spread bacteria or germs. This is one of the most common concerns that enter parents’ minds.
What are Lice?
Head lice are small, wingless insects that live off human blood they obtain by biting into the scalp. They resemble sesame seeds since they are about 2.5mm long and are grey-brown in color. Lice are not considered dangerous.
Life Cycle of Lice
Female lice begin laying eggs about seven days after they are born. They stick the eggs to hair strands close to the scalp by producing a sticky substance. They try to place their eggs as close to the scalp as possible to keep the lice eggs warm. Seven days later the eggs hatch and the baby lice begin to feed and repeat the life cycle. It takes seven days for the baby lice to become fully grown. Once it is a fully grown adult they are capable of transferring to the head of a different host.
Symptoms of Head Lice
It may take up to three months for symptoms to appear due to some people not having an initial reaction. Lice bite into the scalp to extract blood to consume. The saliva can cause some children and adults to feel itchy, which can lead to excessive scratching. Common symptoms of lice are a rash around the neck and other bitten areas and excessive scratching which can lead to a bacterial infection.
Spreading Head Lice
The most common ages for getting lice are between four and eleven. Children in primary school are most susceptible and infestations peak at the beginning of each new school year. Lice are not capable of hopping, swimming, jumping or flying, they are only able to crawl. They are spread by head-to-head contact and can live for 48 hours without a host. Lice are able to briefly attach to clothing and accessories and come into contact with a new host as well.
Detecting Head Lice
To detect head lice you will want to examine every section of the scalp and hair strands by following the steps below.
- Wash your child’s hair with ordinary shampoo and leave it wet
- Have your child lean their head over a piece of white paper placed on a flat surface.
- Use a standard comb or brush to detangle your child’s hair
- Begin at the front of the scalp in the middle
- Comb through the entire length of the hair beginning from the roots to the very ends
- After you complete each brush stroke, examine the brush or comb for lice and nits
- Rinse the brush or comb off with warm water in between each brush stroke to remove lice and nits
- Comb through each section of the hair until you have completed looking at the entire scalp
Ways to Get Rid of Lice
Many parents rush out to their local pharmacy and purchase the first lice treatment they find. The problem is that most of those products used to treat lice are filled with harsh chemical ingredients such as insecticides, pesticides and more. Your child will be putting this poison on their scalp, which soaks into their head and body. Parents are becoming increasingly aware of chemical lice treatments and are seeking other options to get rid of lice and nits.
ClearLice: Natural Lice Treatment
A popular and natural lice treatment that is the go-to for many parents is ClearLice. This line of natural lice treatment is considered the best because it is void of pesticides, poisons, harsh chemicals and is known to work when other lice treatments have failed. ClearLice is guaranteed to get rid of lice and nits from your head and home in one day. You can choose to purchase products such as natural shampoo, conditioner, enzyme laundry additive, household spray, shower caps and stainless steel nit combs, individually or in a kit.
Preventing Head Lice
While there are preventative measures you can take such as educating your child on lice and advising them not to share their hair brush, comb, hat, scarf, hair accessories or clothing with others, head lice infestations are not easily prevented. You can also take a preventative measure of inspecting your child’s wet hair at least twice a week in order to act quickly at the first sight of nits and lice. If someone in your household has lice, you will want to advise them to avoid lying on bedding, carpets, sofas, pillows and other shared furniture and areas throughout the house.
Young, primary school aged children are the most prone to getting lice infestations and not realizing it. Most schools are excellent at notifying parents via email and news letters sent home. If you find out on your own that your child has head lice, contact the school so other parents can be alerted and warned. Immediate action to get rid of lice and nits is essential to getting the spread of infestations under control.
ClearLice also makes a line of prevention products made of natural ingredients. Repel shampoo and repel leave-in spray conditioner are gentle on the head and safe to use daily to help prevent lice infestations.