Dear wonderful mother, there is no doubt that motherhood brings a lot of joy and happiness to your life, but sometimes, challenges arise that may make us feel anxious and dissatisfied, and one of these challenges is the appearance of lice in the hair of our dear children, as they are considered annoying small insects that cause itching and discomfort for our children. It makes us confused about how to deal with it.
In this article, we will explore together what lice is, learn how to effectively deal with this annoying little enemy, learn about the best ways to detect its presence, talk about effective methods for treating and preventing its spread, and we will give you tips and strategies that will help you take care of your child’s hair and keep it clean and healthy, and to overcome this annoying problem. So, follow with us.
In this Article
What is Lice?
It is a small insect that lives on the skin that covers the top of your head (scalp). These pests are called parasites, as they need human blood to live. Head lice usually stay near the scalp and behind the ears, and you may also notice them in the eyebrows and eyelashes.
There are different types of lice, and the type of lice you have depends on which part of your body is affected:
- Head Lice
It affects the scalp, and it is estimated that it affects between 6 to 12 million people annually, and is widely spread among children, especially in kindergartens and primary schools, and adults may also be affected by this type.
- Body Lice
Body lice is transmitted to people who suffer from poor hygiene and live in cramped and crowded environments. Body lice live on clothes and bedding that come into contact with the skin, and not on the body itself.
This type is spread by sharing contaminated clothing and bedding, and is often found in the seams of clothing.
- Pubic Lice
Also known as “cancer-like lice”, it is mainly spread in the hair of the genital and anal area, often infects adolescents and adults, and is usually transmitted through sexual contact.
These insects may also be transmitted to children through contact with parents, and may also be transmitted through towels, bed covers, and clothing. Pubic lice may also infect the chest, groin, and facial hair areas such as the beard, mustache, and eyelashes.
Despite its small size, there are signs of its appearance, and itching is the most common symptom. Some other symptoms may also occur depending on the type of lice, including the following:
- Seeing lice eggs: small white or brown dots near the scalp; As the temperature is ideal for warmth, the eggs hatch after 1-2 weeks, and after hatching the remaining shell appears white or transparent and remains attached to the hair shaft.
At this time it is easier to detect, as the hair grows longer and the egg shell moves away from the scalp.
- Itching on the scalp: It occurs due to lice bites, and as a result of a reaction to lice saliva, but the itching may not start immediately, as this depends on the sensitivity of the child’s skin.
It may take weeks for affected children to start scratching, and children may complain of itching or movement occurring on their heads.
- Small red blisters or sores: Some children experience minor irritation from scratching, while others may suffer from an annoying rash, and excessive scratching may lead to a bacterial infection.
- Severe itching: People infected with body lice suffer from very severe itching in the areas where lice are present, such as the waist, upper thighs, and buttocks. Severe and continuous itching may lead to the appearance of wounds on the skin, and these wounds may sometimes become contaminated with bacteria or fungi.
- Skin rash: Lice bites can cause a rash or small bruise-like rashes on the affected skin.
- Skin changes: If body lice infestation continues for a long time, the areas of skin that have been bitten can become thick and discolored, especially in the waist area, upper thighs, and buttocks.
Pubic lice causes very intense itching in the pubic and surrounding areas. Small marks resembling bruises can appear on the affected skin, with the exception of the scalp and extremities. It may settle on the eyelashes and form a thin film on the edges of the eyelids.
Who May Get Head Lice?
Head lice can infect anyone, but it occurs most commonly among children ages 3 to 11, as well as their family members.
Children are more susceptible to injury, as they have close contact with each other’s heads while playing together and may share objects that touch their hair.
If you have children, it is important to take preventive measures to limit the spread of lice. Good advice is to avoid sharing personal items such as brushes, clips, and hats, and teach children not to put their heads together and avoid direct contact to reduce the chances of transmission.
Head Lice Causes
The main cause of head lice infection is the transfer of the insect from one person to another, as it cannot fly or jump, and this can happen by:
- Direct contact: When direct contact occurs between the heads of people infected with lice, especially when children are in nurseries or schools, it can be transmitted from one person to another.
- Use shared tools: hair combs, brushes, caps, hats, headphones, and other tools that come in contact with the hair, as they can carry lice and contribute to transmitting it from one person to another.
- Contact with contaminated fabrics: Lice can live on fabrics for up to a full week, so when touched or shared with an infected person, lice can be transmitted in this way.
- Contact with contaminated bedding and furniture: Lice can live for up to 1-2 days away from the body on bedding and furniture contaminated with lice. Therefore, if it comes into contact again it can be transmitted in this way.
When Should You Visit a Doctor?
You should visit a doctor in the following cases:
- There are clear symptoms of head lice infection, such as severe itching of the scalp and the appearance of a skin rash.
- If lice are already seen on the scalp or hair, they may be small and difficult to see, so it is best for a doctor to examine the infected person himself.
- If nits (lice eggs) are suspected, although they may resemble hair flakes or other deposits, a doctor will be able to make an accurate diagnosis.
Diagnosing a scalp infestation with lice can sometimes be difficult, but the best way to diagnose is:
- Separate the hair completely up to the scalp into very small sections.
- A fine comb can be used to help identify live lice; Because it is very small, moves quickly and avoids light, therefore seeing it may be difficult.
- If you don’t see lice moving, but have eggs stuck tightly within a quarter inch of your hair roots, this indicates a possible infestation.
- Lice eggs are most often seen on the hair behind the ears and near the back of the neck.
- If the eggs found are more than a quarter of an inch away from the scalp, the infestation may be old and inactive and therefore does not require immediate treatment.
Lice eggs may be confused with other particles such as dead skin flakes, hairspray droplets, or dirt.
Head Lice Treatment
There are many head lice treatments available, and most treatments need to be used twice, with the second dose used 1 week to 9 days later, to kill any new eggs that have hatched.
Effective treatments include:
- Permethrin (Nix)
It is a synthetic lice pesticide made of pyrethrin, extracted from the chrysanthemum flower. Before using it, the child’s hair must be washed with shampoo. Rinsing the hair with white vinegar before washing may help dissolve the glue that holds the lice eggs on the hair strands.
Leave the medicine on the hair for a specified period of time according to the instructions on the package, then rinse the child’s hair with warm water after that.
- Ivermectin cream
It contains a toxic compound used to treat head lice. This cream is used for adults and children over the age of 6 months. The cream is applied once on dry hair, and after 10 minutes it is rinsed with water, and it does not need to be repeated several times.
Please do not re-use ivermectin without consulting your doctor first. Possible side effects of the cream include eye irritation or redness, dandruff, dry skin, and a burning sensation at the site of application.
- Malathion (Ovide)
It is an approved treatment for treating head lice in adults and children over the age of two years. It is applied to the hair and left to dry naturally, then rinsed after a period ranging between 8 and 12 hours. This medication contains a large amount of alcohol, so you should avoid using it near hair dryers or any flame.
Malathion use can be repeated if necessary for 7 to 9 days after the first use. The specific instructions on the package should be followed and a doctor should be consulted if side effects appear or worsen. Malathion should be used under medical supervision according to the specific directions for each case.
- Gasoline alcohol lotion
It is an aromatic alcohol, used to treat head lice, for children over the age of 6 months. This chemical compound works to kill lice and nits by drying them. It is placed on the scalp and left for ten minutes before rinsing it off.
Benzyl alcohol is a non-toxic and effective option for treating head lice, and is considered safe for use in pregnancy and breastfeeding. It may cause some minor side effects, such as scalp itching or irritation, but these side effects are usually temporary and go away after a short period.
Lindane is an insecticide also known as Gamma Benzene Hexachloride. Lindane works as an anti-parasitic drug, usually used as a last resort treatment for head lice only when other, safer medications are ineffective, due to concerns about side effects.
The use of Lindane should be avoided in the following cases:
- Seizures or convulsions.
- The presence of problems that may increase the likelihood of seizures, such as a head injury or brain tumor.
- Other skin diseases such as eczema or psoriasis that increase the absorption of the drug through the skin.
- HIV infection.
- Previous history of allergy to gamma benzene hexachloride or any other substances.
- Injured skin or wounds.
To reduce the risk of side effects of previous medications, it is recommended that:
- Do not use more than one medication at the same time.
- You should also not use any medication without consulting your doctor and following his medical directions.
- It is important to adhere to the specified doses and schedule recommended by your doctor.
- You should also inform your doctor of any other medications that may be currently being used; To avoid drug conflicts and the risks resulting from them.
Shampoo to Treat Head Lice
You can follow simple steps to use shampoo to treat lice, including the following:
- Start by reading the treatment instructions on the shampoo bottle carefully.
- Apply the shampoo starting from your scalp, and rub it gently into your scalp and hair, making sure to avoid applying shampoo to other body hair.
- Follow the shampoo instructions regarding how long you should leave the shampoo on your hair before rinsing it out.
- After the specified time is up, rinse your hair well to remove the shampoo.
- Use a fine-toothed comb; To examine your scalp and remove lice, carefully pick up and comb the hair and focus on the areas affected by lice.
- Follow the shampoo directions regarding the need for reapplication. You may need to use the shampoo again after a specified period of time to ensure complete elimination of lice.
- Remember that it may take up to three weeks; To completely get rid of head lice and eggs, so continue the treatment and repeat the process regularly until it is completely eliminated.
If you prefer to get rid of head lice without using medications, you can use the following home methods. However, it should be noted that there is no strong clinical evidence confirming the effectiveness of these treatments, and you may need to repeat them regularly:
- You can use a fine-toothed lice comb; To remove head lice.
- Apply olive oil or conditioner to your hair before combing. This helps to fix the lice and eggs on the comb.
- Start by combing from the scalp to the ends of the hair at least twice during one session. You will need to repeat this process every 2 to 3 days until you do not see any signs of head lice or their eggs.
It should be noted that dealing with head lice requires patience and adherence to the treatment for an appropriate period of time, and you may need to consult a doctor for additional guidance.
Questions to ask the Doctor
You can ask the doctor some questions to reach the best treatment, including:
- What type of treatment do you recommend for head lice?
- What can I do if head lice does not go away after treatment?
- Do I have treatment-resistant lice?
- Do I need a medical release to send my child to school if he has head lice?
These questions will help you obtain more detailed information about the treatment of head lice and the procedures that must be taken to deal with it. You can also ask any other questions related to your personal condition or the prevention of head lice.
Cleaning the House from Lice
You do not need to use pesticides throughout the house, as lice cannot survive for more than two days away from the head. You can use the following methods to get rid of their presence in different parts of the house:
- Wash clothes and bedding in hot water at 54°C or higher, then dry them at a high temperature to kill head lice and eggs.
- Clean personal items: Place hairbrushes, combs and other hair clips in a bowl of hot water at 54°C for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Cleaning the house: Use a vacuum cleaner to carefully sweep the floors and upholstered furniture, and empty the dust bag immediately after finishing to get rid of any lice that may have been absorbed.
- Regular inspection: You should examine your scalp and hair with a fine-toothed lice comb to remove any remaining lice or eggs. It is preferable to do this at regular intervals until you are sure that head lice have been completely eliminated.
Head Lice Prevention
The following steps can help you prevent head lice, especially when it comes to children and its rapid spread in schools:
- Avoid sharing personal items such as combs, hairbrushes, towels, and hats with others, as this is one of the most important factors contributing to the transmission of head lice.
- Try to avoid direct contact with the heads of people infected with head lice, especially while playing, as it is transmitted through direct contact and direct exchange of personal items.
- Examine and treat all family members who come into contact with a person infected with head lice, to ensure that it is not transmitted between individuals.
- Educate your children about head lice and how to prevent it, and advise them not to have direct contact, and not to share hats or things they put on their heads with others.
- Wash used clothes and fabrics in hot water and dry them on a high temperature cycle in the washing machine. It is also recommended to place items that cannot be washed and dried, such as hats or stuffed toys, in a plastic bag for two weeks to kill lice.
- Caring for brushes and combs: You can immerse your hairbrush and comb in hot water for up to 10 minutes after use to ensure they are disinfected of any potential lice.
- Clean the house well, especially areas around furniture and places where a person suffering from head lice may have sat, using a vacuum cleaner to remove any lice eggs.
In conclusion, my dear, I hope that this article has provided you with the tools and knowledge necessary to protect your child from lice. Motherhood carries with it many challenges, but with the right information and careful care, you can overcome this challenge and maintain the health and happiness of your children.
Dear mother, always remember that with patience and love, we can achieve the best for our children. You are strong and capable, and you will be a wonderful guide to your children. Continue to provide support and compassion, and you will overcome any challenge that comes your way. You are a wonderful mother, and your children are lucky to have you in their lives.
Frequently Asked Questions about Lice
Does regular shampoo eliminate lice?
No. Regular shampoo is often not enough to get rid of head lice. It is recommended to use a special lice shampoo. Instructions for use must be followed carefully and repeated use to ensure complete elimination.
Does washing hair daily eliminate lice?
Washing your hair daily does not necessarily eliminate head lice completely; Because head lice live and reproduce on the scalp and do not depend greatly on frequent washing, washing the hair regularly may help remove some of the lice and their eggs, but it may not be enough to get rid of them permanently.
Does the hairdryer eliminate lice?
A blow-dryer does not eliminate head lice, and is unlikely to achieve the desired results. This is because head lice and eggs are closely attached to the scalp and hair, making them difficult to remove with the force of the air generated by a blow-dryer.