Battling Lice

What is Lice?

These six-legged parasites that live on the human head are tough to see. In fact, they are the size of a sesame seed. And nits – eggs that head-lice-symptomsfemales glue onto hairs near the scalp, are even harder to detect.

The good news is lice can’t live more than a few days away from the warmth and food that a human head provides. They can also survive submersion for up to six hours (that’s why swimming and showers don’t kill them). They can jump, hop, or fly. In fact, head-to-head contact is usually required for them to spread, and if they aren’t on head, they get dehydrated and die very quickly.

How to Treat Lice

When lice appear on your child’s head, typically the hardest thing is the guilt and embarrassment that comes with an infestation, and the worry others will believe that they are a dirty family with dirty kids.

If you find lice experts advise treating them with over-the-counter medicated shampoos called pediculicides. The most common are applied to dry hair. Left on about 10 minutes, and then rinsed off. Experts consider these products safe as long as they are used according to instructions.

Check Everyone for Lice

Girl-Being-CombedWeb2Before treating one family member, check others in the household for bugs. Everyone should be treated at the same time, to avoid passing it back and forth. You should inform close friends and classmates to check their own heads (and what to do if they find bugs.) Parents should also wash bedding or clothing used by anyone with lice in the 48 hours before treatment to kill lice they may have somehow come off a person’s hair.

If you’re concerned about things like stuffed toys, extreme cleaning or quarantining of all stuffed animals and toys isn’t needed. I few minutes in the dryer (about 20-minutes) should kill them.

Treat Lice Twice

Some nits are resistant to over-the-counter shampoos. Therefore, parents should treat infested family members a second time, 10-days after the first treatment. That way, if any nits were able to survive the first treatment and hatch, the second treatment will kill them before they’re old enough to lay eggs.

If you continue to find lice after two treatments with over-the-counter shampoos, the next step is to visit us at Compass Urgent Care so that we can prescribe a more potent medicine.

Compass Urgent Care