About Head Lice
Children love to share, and whether it is bike helmets, hair ties, combs, or baseball gear, there will be a time when your child will exchange items with other children all in good fun. When one of those kids has a lice infestation, they will soon share a lot more. Head lice is an unfortunate condition where a live adult louse lays eggs in your child’s hair, feeds on blood, and lives on the scalp. Board-certified pediatricians, Dr. Hebbur and Dr. Okammor, at Village Pediatrics in Plano, TX, can help diagnose your child with lice, provide recommendations for treatment, and suggestions on how to best remove the nits. They want your child to be healthy and happy, and while living with lice is not life-threatening, it is highly unpleasant.
Head Lice Conditions and Symptoms
It only takes two adult lice to create an infestation on your child’s head and in your home. Adult lice live on the scalp, and survive on human blood. The adult lice lay eggs on the hair called nits, and if left untreated, they can cause a really itchy, unpleasant experience for your child. Having lice in childhood can happen to anyone, and one child can bring it home to share with the whole family (adults can get lice, too) since it is highly contagious.
Nits are the tiny egg sacs that an adult louse lays on the hair follicle (usually close to the scalp), and are really hard to remove without treatment. Once the hair has been treated naturally with an oil-based treatment or lice removal shampoo, nits have to be manually removed from the hair with a fine-toothed comb to prevent the eggs from hatching and causing another infestation.
If the lice and nit treatment is unsuccessful and/or your home has not been cleaned and safeguarded from a further outbreak, you are highly susceptible to a reinfestation of head lice. The process for the second round of head lice is the same treatment, and you must carefully follow the instructions for the treatment you use. Due to the chemicals being used, you may need to wait a certain amount of time before trying again. Also be aware that lice do not carry disease; however, the constant itching can cause a skin infection and large sores, particularly behind the ears and at the nape of the neck.
Head Lice Recommended Treatments
Not only do you have to treat your child for lice, your whole house will need to be scoured for these bothersome creatures invading your home. If you have more than one child, it may be wise to treat them both at the same time, just in case. You will need:
- A fine-toothed nit comb
- An over-the-counter lice removal shampoo like NIX or RID
- A prescription lice removal shampoo from your pediatrician (if the lice are not dying with NIX or RID)
- If you have a young child or a child with an allergy to the chemicals, you can use a natural remedy like mayonnaise, olive oil, essential oils, tea tree oil, or a vinegar rinse.
You will also need to clean your home thoroughly, including:
- Washing all of the child's clothes, coat, backpack, bedding, pillows, hair brushes, combs, and hair accessories in really hot water
- Seal toys (that cannot be washed) in plastic bags for 2 weeks to kill any living lice
- Vacuum all furniture the child sleeps on or sits on (living room furniture), and all carpeted areas
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Head Lice Help Is Here
If none of the suggestions for at-home treatment work, call our pediatrician office for additional advice and recommendations. If the lice are not treated properly and thoroughly, they will come back. Treatments, especially when you have multiple children, can become costly and time consuming. Our physicians will do everything we can to help get your child lice free.