This season and fall are prime seasons not only for the flu bug but for another bug as well…head lice.
Head lice infestation, most common for school-aged kids and their parents, continues to be a problem in our area and is a part of raising children today. Head lice, highly communicable bugs as they are transmitted via head-to-head contact, are challenging to prevent.
Any parent who has had one or more children coming home from school with head lice can attest to the intensive work required to remove this pest and may have failed, which only tends to amplify the hard work, and adds to the anxiety.
What Are Lice?
Head lice are very tiny, parasitic insects that inhabit human hair and scalp since recorded time. Head lice feed only on human blood for nourishment.
- Lice are associated with unclean people…Not True
- Head lice reflect one’s socioeconomic status…Not True
- Frequent bathing or shampooing will prevent lice…Not True
- Lice can jump and fly…Not True
- Head lice spread from people who have head lice
- Head lice transmit by head-to-head contact and sharing hair items and clothing
- 1 in 10 children contract head lice at one time or another
- Head lice do not infest pets or livestock
- Constant scalp itching and scratching
- Bite or scratch marks on the scalp or neck
- Tiny black spots (digested blood) on bedding and clothing
- Swollen glands in the neck or under the arms (for severe infestation)
Due to their tiny size, head lice are detected with the aid of a magnifying glass and high-intensity lighting. However, adult lice move very quickly away from light and its associated warmth. Head lice may look like grayish specks rapidly moving on the scalp and hair. Nits are the egg life cycle stage of head lice and may look like dandruff, but cannot be shaken off.
Routine hair inspections at school and at home are essential to long-term prevention of head lice. When head lice remain undetected and untreated, their population only continues to grow. It is vital to concurrently take steps to eradicate head lice from the environment and each member of the household.
The whole experience of having head lice can be very frustrating, particularly to parents or caregivers. Successful intervention includes immediate, concurrent measures to get rid of head lice and nits from the environment and the person. Be tenacious in your fight against head lice.