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Information About Head Lice

What Are Head Lice?
Head lice are tiny insects that live on the scalp. They can be spread by close contact with other people. These lice only live in hair and occasionally eyebrows and eyelashes.

Symptoms

  • -Intense itching of the scalp
  • -Small, red bumps on the scalp, neck, and shoulders (bumps may become crusty and ooze)
  • -Tiny golden or white tear drop shaped eggs/nits that are stuck to the hair shaft and have to  be scraped off with finger nails or tweezers.
  • -Live lice on the scalp or hair may be difficult to see, unless the infestation is heavy. If you see something (a bug) moving, it's called a louse.
Treatment
Natural Treatment: Nit Picky Recommends a natural approach to treating head lice. Permethrin treatments (over the counter lice shampoos) are pesticide based and tend to fail. One reason is that lice are developing a resistance to permethrin and another reason is that parents fail to remove all of the eggs.

Lice Shampoos In The Store - Permethrin Treatment: Over  the counter lice shampoos containing 1% permethrin (Nix, Rid, Generic Versions) often work to kill the live bugs and some of the eggs/nits. They can be bought at the store without a prescription. An important part of treatment is removing the eggs (nits). Certain products make the nits easier to remove. You can remove the eggs with a nit comb.

Treatment can cause significant side effects in children younger than 6 months old, the elderly, and anyone weighing less than 110 lbs (50 kg), especially when the treatment is used repeatedly in a short period of time. Permethrin treatments are pesticide based and tend to fail. One reason is that lice are developing a resistance to permethrin and another reason is that parents fail to remove all of the eggs.


Super Lice

Super lice are head lice that have become resistant to the active ingredients in the lice shampoos. Super lice have the ability to survive prescription strength lice shampoos. If you are still finding live bugs after using a prescription or  over the counter lice shampoo, then you have a case of Super Lice.


Causes

Head lice spread easily. You can get head lice when you come in close contact with a person who has lice, or by sharing personal items such as brushes, hats, pillows, or even hugging and touching heads. Lice spread easily among school aged children.

  • Having head lice does NOT mean the person has poor hygiene or low social status.
  • Having head lice can cause intense itching, but not everyone itches. 
  • Head lice does not lead to serious medical problems. 
  • Head lice do not carry or spread diseases.

Tests & diagnosis
To see head lice, you need to look closely. Full sun or the brightest lights in your home during daylight hours work well. A magnifying glass can also help. Part the hair all the way down to the scalp in very small sections, looking both for moving lice and eggs (nits). Look at the entire head this way. Look closely around the top of the neck and ears, the most common locations for eggs. The eggs are golden, translucent, or white in the shape of a tear drop stuck to the side of the hair shaft. Treatment is recommended if even one egg is found.

Prognosis

Lice are usually killed with proper treatment. However, lice may come back, especially if the source is not corrected or their eggs/nits are missed during the initial treatment. When one case is detected in a family or a school or child-care center, every child or family member at that location should be examined for head lice. This can help prevent further spreading.


Prevention

Never share hair brushes, combs, hair pieces, hats, bedding, towels, or clothing with someone who has head lice.

If your child has lice, be sure to check policies at schools, day-care centers, preschools, and nurseries. Many do not allow infected children to be at school until the lice have been completely treated. Some schools may have policies to make sure the environment is clear of lice. Frequent cleaning of carpets and all other surfaces in child-care centers prevents spread of all types of infections, including head lice.


Complications
Some people will develop a secondary skin infection from scratching. Antihistamines can help relieve the itching or have and allergic reaction to over the counter lice shampoos.

Head Lice Information For Parents

You should examine your child's head, especially behind the ears and at the nape of the neck, for crawling lice and nits if your child exhibits symptoms of a head lice infestation. If crawling lice or nits are found, all household members should be examined for crawling lice and nits every 2–3 days. Persons with live (crawling) lice or nits within ¼ inch or less of the scalp should be treated.

More on: Head Lice Symptoms

To eliminate head lice successfully, it is very important that all treatment instructions and steps be carefully followed and completed.

CDC does not make recommendations as to what specific product or products should be used to treat individuals. Both over-the-counter and prescription products are available. You may wish to contact your doctor, pharmacist, or health department for additional information about which product they recommend.

More on: Head Lice Treatment

Children diagnosed with live head lice do not need to be sent home early from school; they can go home at the end of the day, be treated, and return to class after appropriate treatment has begun. Nits may persist after treatment, but successful treatment should kill crawling lice.

Head lice can be a nuisance but they have not been shown to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.

More on: Lice Information for Schools

The informational materials on this website are in the public domain and can be printed for further copying and distribution.

Resource: Center Of Disease Control 

Website: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/parents.html

Head Lice Information For Schools

Students diagnosed with live head lice do not need to be sent home early from school; they can go home at the end of the day, be treated, and return to class after appropriate treatment has begun. Nits may persist after treatment, but successful treatment should kill crawling lice.

Head lice can be a nuisance but they have not been shown to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) advocate that "no-nit" policies should be discontinued. "No-nit" policies that require a child to be free of nits before they can return to schools should be discontinued for the following reasons:

  • Many nits are more than ¼ inch from the scalp. Such nits are usually not viable and very unlikely to hatch to become crawling lice, or may in fact be empty shells, also known as 'casings'.
  • Nits are cemented to hair shafts and are very unlikely to be transferred successfully to other people.
  • The burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice.
  • Misdiagnosis of nits is very common during nit checks conducted by nonmedical personnel.

More on: Head Lice Treatment

The informational materials on this web site are in the public domain and can be printed for further copying and distribution.


Resource: Center of Disease Control

Website: https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/schools.html

Head Lice Information For Pediatricians

It’s probably making you squirm just thinking about it – your child comes home from school scratching his head. He has lice. It’s every parent’s nightmare, but it is important to remember that head lice is a nuisance, not a serious disease or a sign of poor hygiene.

An updated clinical report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) “Head Lice,” in the May 2015 issue of Pediatrics (published online April 27), provides information to pediatricians and other health practitioners on safe and effective methods for treating head lice, including new products and medications.

Most cases of head lice are acquired outside of school. In the report, the AAP continues to recommend that a healthy child should not be restricted from attending school because of head lice or nits (eggs). Pediatricians are encouraged to educate schools and communities that no-nit policies are unjust and should be abandoned. Children can finish the school day, be treated, and return to school....
Resource
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