It’s that time of year again; all of the backpacks, sneakers and stationary supplies are bought in preparation for the big day. The start of the new school year is here! As you look at your off spring and feel their nervous excitement, your mind starts to wonder about what the year holds for them. One thing is for sure, you are probably not thinking of head lice, however with a ball park estimate of between 9 – 12 million cases of head lice infestation reported every year in the US, perhaps it is something you should be thinking about and planning for.
But with so much conflicting advice out there in the ether, where do you start? How do you detect a head lice infestation? What do you do once you’ve established you have some unwelcome guests? Hopefully, I can offer some insight in how to confirm a head lice infestation and assist you in weighing up the best course of action for you and your family, including the pro’s and con’s of treatment options.
Having head lice is not a reflection on personal hygiene and in fact they are happy to live in very clean hair. Let’s start with the facts and rather gory details:
What do Lice and their eggs look like?
Adult head lice are about the same size as a sesame seed, they are a tan to greyish white in color and contrary to popular belief, they do not hop or fly but hang onto the hair with their legs. Lice take three to four weeks to mature and can then lay up to 10 eggs a day. These eggs (nits) are laid 4-10mm away from the head, most prominently behind the ears and at the nape of the neck and use body heat to incubate. Nits are often mistaken for dandruff, but the key difference is nits are translucent and are firmly attached to the hair strand.
What are the symptoms of Head Lice?
Adult head lice need human blood to survive and feed every few hours. The Itching sensation felt on the scalp occurs in reaction to the head lice saliva and it may take up to 4 -6 weeks before itching occurs. There is some evidence that people may also suffer irritability and sleeplessness as a result.
You identified you or a love one has indeed got head lice. Aaaarrggghh, what do I do!?
First of all, don’t worry! There are a number of approaches you can take. You can buy and apply an over the counter Lice Solution from your local pharmacy, which is a quick and cheap option, however will be ineffectual if not followed up by a repeat treatment 7-10 days later. “Sounds great”, I hear you say! Well it would be if the over the counter solution were completely effective, but unfortunately there is recent evidence to suggest head lice are showing resistance to the ingredients used in shop bought brands. To top it off, although these remedies are approved by the FDA, there warnings are provided about their noxious nature and over-use. There is a small risk of the person being treated absorbing pesticides through their skin or breathing them in.
Over The counter remedies are not advised to be used for children under two year’s old and pregnant women. This last fact worries me as a mother of two school age children who contracted head lice three times last year, as exposing my children to pesticides on a regular basis is just not an option.
It is recommended that you comb out the lice and nits with a fine toothcomb, which is a process that can take several hours, especially if your child like mine has rather wild and unruly locks. It is important to be meticulous and make sure every strand of hair has been examined and any lice or nit removed. If just a few nits are left in the hair, the likelihood of further infestations is high. You should repeat the comb out once again 7-10 days after the first infestation was found.
It sounds like a lot of hard work, right? Well unfortunately, it is when eradicating head lice. The third option is to hand over the job to the professionals, such as Lice Treatment Plus.
Specialist head lice treatment removal is by far the most expensive of the options, however if you pick the right service you will be in safe hands. Lice Treatment Plus is a Connecticut wide head lice removal service who has developed its own herbal, non-toxic, chemical free head lice remedy that has been proven to be effective in eradicating head lice. The Lice Treatment Plus Clinicians are trained to work with children and are hair cosmetologists who know how to check hair thoroughly - they will guarantee you will become head lice-free. The great news is that some health insurance policies may be able to reimburse the cost of this, making the option of engaging a professional service far easier!
Once you have decided how you are going to tackle head live removal, you probably will need to start talking to your children about how head lice are contracted and introduce some basic rules. For example, not sharing hats, hair brushes or playing with to close head-to-head.
If we as parents continue to check our children’s hair regularly especially after school vactions, tackle the issue head on and are honest with our children about head lice, we may be able to stop this particular pest in its tracks.
Call Lice Treatment Plus: 203 923 6781