Head Lice

Parasitic insects called lice live and breed on the head of humans. They usually feed upon the blood of the head to grow and multiply. It is fairly easy to get lice, since they can be contracted through direct contact with an infected person, use of an infected hair brush/comb or lying on a surface where an infected person has been. Lice are often mistaken for dandruff or other scalp problems. Head lice can cause sores and a skin infection from incessant scratching. The only signs of lice are usually the itch caused by the allergy of the biting lice and white flakes similar to dandruff.

 

Diagnosis and Treatment of Head Lice

Your child's doctor will usually inspect your child's head closely if it is suspected he or she has lice. If lice are found to be present, extensive measures must be taken to rid the person of lice and prevent further outbreaks. Lice-killing medicine is available, which is what is primarily, and must be, used for two to three weeks after the lice are discovered. Also, all brushes and combs the patient has used must be sanitized, and linens and surfaces the child has been in contact with must be washed. The floors of the house where the patient resides must be vacuumed and sanitized, in order to prevent further infections.

Linens must be washed in hot water, not cold, to ensure all lice have been destroyed. If linens are dry-clean-only or there are other items present the child has been in contact with that are not washable, such as stuffed animals, seal items in air-proof bags for two weeks, which should suffocate all living organisms present on the surface of the items. Soak brushes and combs in rubbing alcohol or Lysol to kill off the organisms.

Such precautions should warrant no further infestation from within the home, yet they do not guarantee protection from further lice infections via other people and situations, such as school and daycare.

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