Head lice are tiny insects that live on the scalp. They can be spread by close contact with other people. These lice only live in hair and occasionally eyebrows and eyelashes.
- -Intense itching of the scalp
- -Small, red bumps on the scalp, neck, and shoulders (bumps may become crusty and ooze)
- -Tiny golden or white tear drop shaped eggs/nits that are stuck to the hair shaft and have to be scraped off with finger nails or tweezers.
- -Live lice on the scalp or hair may be difficult to see, unless the infestation is heavy. If you see something (a bug) moving, it's called a louse.
Natural Treatment: Nit Picky Recommends a natural approach to treating head lice. Permethrin treatments are pesticide based and tend to fail. One reason is that lice are developing a resistance to permethrin and another reason is that parents fail to remove all of the eggs. Learn more about our approach by clicking here.
Permethrin Treatment: Over the counter lice shampoos containing 1% permethrin (Nix, Rid, Generic Versions) often work to kill the live bugs and some of the eggs/nits. They can be bought at the store without a prescription.
An important part of treatment is removing the eggs (nits). Certain products make the nits easier to remove. You can remove the eggs with a nit comb. Before doing this, rub olive oil in the hair or run the metal comb through beeswax. This helps make the nits easier to remove.
Treatment can cause significant side effects in children younger than 6 months old, the elderly, and anyone weighing less than 110 lbs (50 kg), especially when the treatment is used repeatedly in a short period of time.
Permethrin treatments are pesticide based and tend to fail. One reason is that lice are developing a resistance to permethrin and another reason is that parents fail to remove all of the eggs.
Head lice spread easily. You can get head lice when you come in close contact with a person who has lice, or by sharing personal items such as brushes, hats, pillows, or even hugging and touching heads. Lice spread easily among school children.
Having head lice does NOT mean the person has poor hygiene or low social status.
Having head lice can cause intense itching, but not everyone itches. Head lice does not lead to serious medical problems. Head lice do not carry or spread diseases.
Treatment is recommended if even one egg is found.
Lice are usually killed with proper treatment. However, lice may come back, especially if the source is not corrected or their eggs/nits are missed during the initial treatment. When one case is detected in a family or a school or child-care center, every child or family member at that location should be examined for head lice. This can help prevent further spreading.
Never share hair brushes, combs, hair pieces, hats, bedding, towels, or clothing with someone who has head lice.
If your child has lice, be sure to check policies at schools, day-care centers, preschools, and nurseries. Many do not allow infected children to be at school until the lice have been completely treated.
Some schools may have policies to make sure the environment is clear of lice. Sometimes, the insects or their eggs get into areas such as carpets. Frequent cleaning of carpets and all other surfaces in child-care centers prevents spread of all types of infections, including head lice.
Some people will develop a secondary skin infection from scratching. Antihistamines can help relieve the itching.