Lice have been plaguing human kind since the dawn of civilization. This unfortunate fact still exists today and can affect any family, any time. We recently heard from a nanny that was drawn into the battle on behalf of her family. She turned to us for some advice, and we decided to put a bunch of resources together in one place!
For a funny movie view, check out Sarah Jessica Parker’s character Kate in the movie I Don’t Know How She Does It:
1. Lice Love Humans
Head lice have claws specially designed to cling to human hair. To survive, they huddle close to your scalp, eating blood several times a day. A single bug, called a louse, can live up to 30 days on your head but dies within 12-24 hours if it falls off.
2. Children and Adults Can Get Them
Head lice infest younger children in child care or school first because they play closely together. An estimated 6 million to 12 million cases occur each year among kids ages 3 to 11. But adults can get head lice, too. If one child in your house is infested, it’s best to check everyone.
3. They’re Not a Sign of Poor Hygiene
Head lice spread through direct head-to-head contact. For kids, this often occurs at school, sports activities, camp, or slumber parties. Less commonly, lice travel on hats, scarves, coats, brushes, or combs. The cleanliness of your hair, home, or school has nothing to do with the risk of getting them.
4. They’re Sometimes Mistaken for Dandruff
Nits are head lice eggs, and they’re small, oval-shaped, and tough to spot. People who detect them often think they’re dandruff, scabs, or droplets of hairspray. If they’re not treated, they’ll hatch into nymphs, or young lice, within eight to nine days. Within about another seven days, they’ll become adult lice.
5. Poor Sleep Is One Symptom
Head lice are most active in the dark. Itchiness often keeps affected people awake. Other symptoms include tickling on the head, itching from an allergic reaction to bites, and developing sores from scratching. You might also see lice on your or your child’s scalp, eyebrows, or eyelashes.
6. Diagnosis Can Be Tricky
The best way to confirm an infestation is to find a live louse. Use a magnifying glass and a fine-toothed comb to search. Nits more than a quarter-inch from the scalp are almost always dead, and usually the infestation no longer needs treatment. If you’re unsure, ask a doctor or health department official.
All the medicated shampoos, combs, and home remedies are still available. The most effective treatment depends upon who you talk to. There are several natural products on the market if you want to avoid the chemical approach. Newer to the lice scene are lice pickers! You can actually go to a salon, or have someone come to you, to help remove all the nits and lice! In the Seattle area there are a few options:
When a lice infestation strikes, it’s nice to know A)You’re not alone, B)There is humor in everything. Here are some funny stories from around the blog-o-sphere.
We wish any family the best in their battle of the Lice! We would love to hear your treatment recommendations in comments below!