Hair Lice: Symptoms and Prevention

Hair or head lice are very small insects that survive on the scalp of your head. These hair lice can be transmitted by close contact with the infected people. Hair lice are often found in eyelashes and even eyebrows as well.

Symptoms of Hair Lice

The major symptoms may include:

  • Excessive itching of the scalp
  • Tiny, red bulge on the surface of head, neck, including shoulders, which may get crusty and ooze
  • Tiny white flecks at the root of each hair that becomes difficult to get off

Lice on head and clothing are difficult to see, if it is not in comprehensive quantity.

Treatment and Prevention of Hair Lice

Shampoos or lotions having 1% permethrin (Nix) are generally recommended to treat hair lice. They are available at the store and can be asked for without a prescription. In case these are ineffective, a doctor can provide stronger medication. These medicines should be administered as directed without fail.

How to Prevent Hair Lice

Hair lice are commonly disseminated by head-to-head or hair-to-hair contact. However, very few instances of its spreading by sharing of belongings which were having lice are reported to have been witnessed. The probably of getting hair lice that has dropped onto a bed sheet or carpet is quite unusual. The life of hair lice is not more than 1-2 days if they get detached from the scalp and nits generally does not survive more than a week if they did not get the same temperature that is available close to the head surface.

hair lice

There are a few of the necessary steps that must be considered to enable prevent and keep the hair lice within control:

  • Always try to avoid hair to hair and also head-to-head contact when you are playing or doing some other activities at school, home, or anywhere else i.e. sports activities, parties, playground, camps etc.
  • Avoid sharing or using cloths, coats, hats, combs, clips, scarves, sports uniforms, hair ribbons, or even barrettes.
  • Do not exchange or share towels or brushes.  Clean properly or disinfest brushed or combs if used by some infested individual by leaving them in hot water for quite some time i.e., 10-15 minutes to get rid of all infections.
  • Do not sit or lie on couches, carpets, beds, pillows that have came in contact with some kind of infection.
  • Wash and dry pieces of cloths or clothing, bed sheets, and other articles that an infected individual has used in hot water (130°F) and use high heat drying machine to dry the cloths. Clothing and other articles that cannot be washed can be dry-cleaned or packed in a separate plastic bag and kept aside for 2 weeks.
  • Vacuum clean the floor and furniture items, specifically in which the infested individual used to sit or lay.
  • It is advisable not to administer fumigant sprays as they are not required to keep the head lice under check and may prove to be toxic if ingested or absorbed via the skin.

In addition, to enable a good control on hair lice outbreak in a camp, playground, community, or school, children should be warned to avoid activities that can lead to spread of head lice.

Hair lice are generally terminated with the help of proper treatment. However, hair lice can reoccur also if the source of its occurrence is not corrected. For instance, a school with several infected kids can lead to kids to get repeated lice.