September is Head Lice Prevention Month
Lice – one word that can bring dread to parents. Though only about the size of a sesame seed, lice have the potential to cause you and your family some big problems. A lice infestation can go from mild to out of control in a matter of days, so it is crucial to address the issue as soon as you become aware of it.
What Are Lice?
Lice are tiny, wingless, parasitic insects that feed on human blood.
Common signs and symptoms of lice include:
- Intense itching on the scalp.
- Tickling feeling from the movement of hair.
- Lice on your scalp, body, or clothing.
- Lice eggs (nits) on hair shafts. Nits may be challenging to see because they’re very tiny. They’re easiest to spot around the ears and the nape of the neck.
- Sores on the scalp, neck, and shoulders. Scratching can lead to small red bumps that can sometimes get infected with bacteria.
How to Treat Lice
A lice removal kit (“nit comb”) may be used alone to remove and kill head lice and nits.
If using a drug treatment:
- After rinsing the product from the hair and scalp, use a fine-toothed comb or a lice removal kit (“nit comb”) to remove dead lice and nits.
- Apply the drug treatment only to the scalp and the hair attached to the scalp and not to other body hair.
- Before treating young children, talk with your health care provider for recommended treatments based on a child’s age and weight.
- Use the medication exactly as directed on the label and never more often than directed unless advised by your health care professional.
- Use treatments on children only under the direct supervision of an adult.
If this over-the-counter method doesn’t work, contact your health care provider, who may recommend a prescribed treatment.
How to prevent lice
- Don’t share items that touch the head, like combs or towels.
- Avoid activities that lead to head-to-head contact.
- Keep belongings, especially upper body clothing, away from shared areas like coat closets.
Carmen Phillipi, APRN-CNP
Comanche Family Care