How to Get Rid of Lice?
Feed on our blood; these tiny itchy creatures are more of a nuisance than a danger. They don’t spread disease, but the constant itching caused by an allergic reaction to their bites can be stormy enough. Spreads on contact with hair. In addition to the physical symptoms of a red, itchy, or inflamed scalp, embarrassment can be a conspicuous emotional symptom for many parents. Before knowing how to get rid of lice, we should know what they are and how they multiply and transmit to others.
What are the lice?
Louse, commonly called lice, are tiny parasitic insects that live externally on warm-blooded hosts, including almost every species of bird and mammal. Humans host two species of louse, Pediculus humanus (head and body lice); and Pthirus pubis (pubic lice). Head lice are the most prevailing type in the World, infesting up to 12 million people every year in America.
Features of head lice:
- Head lice are light brown or grayish insects the size of a strawberry seed.
- They are obligate parasites that cannot survive without a human host. It bites the skin with its mouthparts and excretes substances that inhibit clotting.
- It feeds 4-5 times daily on human blood from the scalp.
- This species can live only on human hosts, so don’t worry about their transfer from your dog, cat, or any other furry pet you may have.
- Being wingless, they cannot fly.
- These tiny creatures are loaded with claws on six legs to attach themselves to their innocent host.
- Lice can be found anywhere on the hair but love to settle in the warmest spots, such as the nape of the neck and around the ears.
The life cycle of head Lice:
- Female adult lice can lay up to six eggs directly on the hair shaft. The eggs are cemented to the hair by secretions from the female louse.
- It takes about 6-9 days for the eggs to hatch and for the nymphs to emerge. It is about the size of a pinhead.
- The larva takes another 9-12 days to mature and undergoes three successive molts to attain adult size.
- How do the head lice transmit?
- They can crawl but cannot jump or fly. Head lice are transmitted from person to person by direct head-to-head contact, within families, or between children who are in close contact at school or play.
- These itchy creatures can be spread from person to person through personal items such as hats, scarves, and towels.
- They can also spread when clothing is stored together. For example, hanging hats and scarves on the same hook or storing them in the same school locker can be a vehicle for lice dispatch.
How would you know if you had lice?
- Intense itching or a tickling feeling of the movement of hair or the presence of lice on your scalp, body, or clothing are clear signs of head lice infestation.
- Lice eggs are easy to spot around the ears, and the nape of the neck and cannot be dusted out of hair, unlike dandruff.
- Scratching creates small red bumps or sores on the scalp, neck, and occasionally on the shoulder that may get infected with bacteria.
Steps to follow to get rid of lice infestation:
Inspect other people’s heads in your home:
If one person has it, someone else may have it too. Check other people in your home for live lice and small eggs. It’s necessary to treat all infected scalps to prevent further outbreaks.
Remove the clothes before treatment:
Most lice medication can leave permanent stains on your clothes, so it’s better to remove clothes before treatment. Also, the clothes you are wearing may have some loose lice that have fallen off your head. When treating children, we should undress them to avoid staining.
Treatment of lice with pediculicides:
- Lice killers or pediculicides are effective chemotherapy for head lice and are available as creams, shampoos, or pastes. Follow the guidelines carefully given on the packaging and apply the product throughout all of your hair.
- Give the lice treatment enough time to work its magic. After about eight hours, examine the scalp for dead lice. If the lice are alive but slow-moving, medication needs a little more time to kill them.
- If you see live lice moving about, consult your doctor, who may recommend an alternate medication to get rid of lice.
- Rinsing your hair is fine. Many anti-lice drugs recommend it. The use of shampoo or conditioner may lessen the effect of medication.
- Nit combs your hair every 2-3 days to prevent the recurrence of lice. A Nit comb is a hair comb with very narrow teeth designed to collect louse eggs when you run them through your hair. Nit comb for 2 to 3 days to remove any remaining lice egg.
- About a week after the first treatment, give another treatment to your hair to eliminate lice.
Wash clothes and other stuff that contains infestation to get rid of head lice
Lice can survive only a few days without a host. The belongings of an infected person are contaminated with the lice or their eggs. So, clean everything that comes in touch with their head, like hair brushes, pillow covers, bed sheets, and hats. Kinds of Stuff are unable to be machine-wash, dry clean, or stored in a plastic bag for two weeks to let the lice die.
Vacuum all household stuff:
Vacuum up any lice that may have fallen onto the carpet, furniture, tablecloth covers, or elsewhere. It’s not uncommon for lice to fall off someone’s hair and can spread to other people in the home. Thoroughly vacuum all household stuff to prevent the lice from spreading to others at home.
Yes, you read it right. Since the lice can be easily transmitted from person to person but cannot directly “jump” or fly to another person without direct contact. So, if you or someone in your family has lice, avoid touching or coming into close contact with other people to prevent the spread of lice. It’s a kind of social distancing to get rid of irritating lice.
Hair cut treatment:
If the hair is too short, lice cannot live. You may also consider cutting your hair very short or shaving your head. Less hair means less space for lice, making them easier to remove. Suppose you don’t want to cut it all because of lice. Continue using the remedy and see your doctor if you have trouble getting rid of them. However, if you already have short hair, you can cut it slightly shorter to eliminate the lice faster.
Wet combing treatment:
This method is bland and tiresome but effectively removes all the lice. Wash your hair with shampoo, apply conditioner, and comb it with a hair comb. Then use a nit comb to remove lice and their eggs. Repeat this every single day until all is clear. Make sure you clean all the combs you use by soaking them in hot, soapy water for 5-10 minutes. Otherwise, you could end up putting the lice back onto your hair.
Petroleum jelly suffocation:
Apply petroleum jelly on your scalp and hair to suffocate the lice and their eggs. Then cover your head with a shower cap and leave it on overnight. It’s a faster approach to eradicating lice. Finally, use a web comb to remove the dead lice.
Essential oils poisoning:
Apply tea tree oil (10%) and lavender oil (1%) to your hair, and leave it overnight. Wash the head and use a nit comb to remove dead lice. Do this for two days.
- Teach your child not to share personal items such as hats, scarves, coats, combs, brushes, hair accessories, headphones, etc.
- Tell your child to avoid direct contact with classmates during play or other activities.
- Avoid hanging or storing personal belongings where more than one student’s hats or clothing are hung on hooks or stored in lockers.
- Check your child’s hairs off and on for lice eggs to treat them before they hatch.
- Do not use toxic or flammable chemicals like gasoline and kerosene to eliminate lice. Using them on your skin is too risky.