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A Louse-y Problem

Lice are tiny creatures that infect a child’s scalp and cause disgust. To counter them, parents take recourse to many methods, from vinegar and mayonnaise to even doses of toxic chemicals. But, lice only cause an itchy scalp and no distress. Besides, they do not transmit any diseases. However, research reveals that lice in their children creates a lot of anxiety in parents.

What are Lice?

Lice are parasites that feed on blood. They cannot hop, fly or go deep inside the scalp. Lice need the warmth and blood of the human head to survive. Female lice lay around six eggs per day, which get cemented in the hair. Out of these, fertile eggs hatch, but they need temperatures prevalent in the scalp.

No Nit Policy

Some states and cities have “no nit” rules. They ban children infested with lice from attending school. Many schools depend on ill-equipped parents and nurses to detect lice infestation in children. Many a time, nurses and parents mistake dirt, scabs, dandruff and other head stuff for lice or their eggs.

This results in the quarantine of non-infested children as well. Besides, these non-infected children also get treated with louse-killing insecticides. Keeping all this is mind, the pediatrics academy recommends that children should not be prevented from attending school because of lice. It favours the abandonment of no-nit policies.

Who Can Get Lice?

Anybody can get lice. These insects do not care for hair-brushing frequency, hair length, hygiene or social class. Lice are transmitted by head contact and sometimes by exposure to an infested individual’s furnishings, headphones, hair accessories, helmets, hats or clothing. Children are more likely to be infested compared to adults.

Prevention of Lice

It may be impossible to prevent all cases of lice infestations. But, it pays to be prudent and not use other children’s personal belongings such as hats, brushes and combs. Besides, one should not go to extremes and refuse wearing protective headgear just because of lice fears.

Finding Lice

It is difficult to find live head lice. They are tiny and can crawl fast. Look behind the ears and the nape of your child’s neck to find live lice. Treatment is required only if viable eggs or active lice are found.

How to Treat Lice Infestation

Clean the hair care accessories, bedclothes and bedding of the infested individual. All the members in the house need to be checked for head lice, even if only one person is infested. Wash and dry clothes at a temperature above 130 degrees Fahrenheit to kill nits and lice. Vacuum-clean car seats, carpeting and furniture. Do not take recourse to natural remedies as their effectiveness is under debate.

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