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MAIN Arrow to Kids Health Kids Health Arrow to Head Lice Head Lice

head lice picture
A picture of head lice with close-up view of
nits, which resemble dandruff and are easily
seen around the ears or nape of the neck.

 

Whether you're rich or poor, come from a family that practices good personal hygiene, or one that doesn't so much - head lice are a concern of parents of school age children everywhere.

Fact is, nobody is to blame for head lice since they will happily set up house on any human head (pets & animals don't get them) they happen to come upon.

If your kids have becoming infested with head lice, here's some helpful bug-busting information for keeping the whole family head lice free during the school season or year round.

How can you tell if your kids have head lice?

When first infected, kids may often complain of a tickling sensation in the hair or on the scalp. Mild or severe itching may also be reported, brought about by an allergic reaction from lice saliva. Sores may also erupt from constant scratching.

Next, a visual inspection may result in evidence of head lice "nits" or eggs, a powdery substance looking very much like dandruff.



How do you get head lice?

Most often, kids ages 3 - 11 are the main target of head lice infestations that spread among younger populations in day care centers or schools, on playgrounds, or anywhere that kids are in close contact.

Head-to-head contact is the most common way that head lice move about. Sharing scarves and hats or hair clips and headphones can also serve to spread head lice.

Head lice are extremely contagious among families, so teens and adults may also suffer from head lice infestations brought home by younger members of the household.


How do you get rid of head lice?

Usually, you can get rid of lice by using over-the-counter shampoos with mild insecticide ingredients specifically formulated to kill head lice. A fine tooth comb is included for combing out any surviving lice or nits. However, if nonprescription formulations don't do the trick, your doctor can prescribe a stronger, prescription shampoo.

Newer, natural formulations are always coming on the market for those who prefer not to use insecticides, although their treatment effectiveness have yet to be proven in studies.

Anecdotal evidence over the years also points to the effectiveness of coating the child's head with mayonnaise, olive oil or vaseline, and covering it with cling wrap overnight as an effective home remedy to smother head lice and their eggs.

Along with treatment, also highly recommended is a thorough washing of sheets, pillow cases and clothing, stuffed animals, car seats — or anything else that that might have come in contact with the infested person's head to prevent re-infestation.


More about head lice symptoms & treatment around the Web:

Head Lice.org - Major clearinghouse of information including a helpful FAQ, photos, current news and product warnings and adverse reactions, educational resources and kids' activities.

Head Lice - Comprehensive fact sheet from UC Davis with facts on what to look for, treatment options, and a step-by-step hair combing tutorial with related references. Also available as a printable PDF file.

Head Lice Pictures - Check out this photo gallery with information on how to identify head lice infestation with related facts and resources.

Head Lice Home Remedies - Archived message board posts from moms with advice on head lice cures and remedies from the kitchen or household medicine cabinet, including tips on usage and related warnings.

also see in Health -> Rashes | Rash Pictures

This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.


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