Head lice are such a nuisance. Although it is commonly seen in school going kids, it can also affect adults. The worst part of getting lice is not the constant irritation and scratching of the head but the fear that it can spread from one person to another. Lice infestation is not a sign of being dirty or sick and there are no long-term health problems associated with it.
So if anyone in your family has head lice, here are few do’s and don’ts you should follow to get rid of lice along with proper treatment.
How to get rid of lice?
Numerous products are available to get rid of head lice. Choose a one that fits your needs from the options available such as soaps, creams, shampoos, combing and medicines (doctors may prescribe pills in some cases). Do follow the directions carefully to be sure that the treatment works. Here are some tips to deal with head lice:
-Wet combing is usually preferred to remove lice from hair for young children. Use a regular brush or comb to remove tangles from wet hair before using a special comb.
-Use a special fine-toothed comb to carefully comb out nits and lice from hair. Pull the comb through the hair from roots to ends. Comb the entire head at least twice.
-The nits (lice eggs) mature in 5-7 days so it is important to comb every day for about 2 weeks to ensure you get rid of all the lice.
-You can get a prescription for kids if combing doesn’t work and the infestation is severe.
Tips to prevent spreading of lice to other family members
-Wash clothes, bedding, and towels in hot water and dry them on the hottest setting. Opt for dry cleaning if you can’t wash these items at home.
-You can use a vacuum to clean furniture, carpet, and car seats. Things that cannot be washed such as soft toys and pillows should be put into a plastic bag and sealed for at least two weeks.
-Do not share a bed with a person infested with lice as there is high possibility of lice getting transferred through direct head to head contact.
-Do not use the combs, brushes and hair care products used by a person who has head lice. It is wise to throw away or sterilize and use for future.
-Do not send your child to school if he/she has head lice.
Beware of using these methods to fight head lice
-You do not need to have your home sprayed for lice as it will hardly serve the purpose of getting rid from lice. It doesn’t lower the risk of infestation from someone in the family who already has head lice.
-Do not use of natural remedies such as olive oil, butter, petroleum jelly and mayonnaise to get rid of head lice. It is believed that these remedies work by suffocating the lice but do no good as lice are difficult to suffocate.
-Avoid using toxic compounds like gasoline and kerosene to get risk of lice. There is no research evidence on the same. Moreover, it can lead to serious injury.
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Dodd CS. Interventions for treating head lice. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2001;(3):CD001165.
Lebwohl M, Clark L, Levitt J. Therapy for head lice based on life cycle, resistance, and safety considerations. Pediatrics. 2007 May;119(5):965-74.