Lice Can Make You Crazy!
Do you think you, or someone you know might have head lice? Or did you just find out that you and/or a family member have been exposed to head lice? We understand that just the thought of lice crawling around your head is enough to drive you crazy. Don’t panic! We are here to help you figure it out and to recognize the common signs and symptoms of a head lice infestation.
Persistent itching of the scalp. Persistent Itching of the scalp. Having an itchy scalp is a common symptom of a head lice infestation – oftentimes it can take up to a few weeks for the symptom show. The incessant itch that is associated with head lice is due to an allergic reaction from lice bites (the louse saliva and/or feces) causing an itchy sensation that just can be scratched enough. Not everyone is allergic to the saliva, so you could have head lice and never itch at all.
Experience a tickling/crawling sensation. The tickling sensation of a bug crawling on our scalp is inherently unpleasant, however it is a common feeling associated with head lice. Sadly, this symptom often wont present itself for three to four weeks after the initial infestation.
Bumps and sores on scalp, nape of the neck, ears, with severe irritation. Head lice only eat, human blood and eat several times per day. A head louse feeds much like a mosquito and like a mosquito bite prolonged scratching may lead to severe irritation and inflammation if not treated. Very often louse can be found on the nape of the neck or by the ears, making the scalp not the only place where irritation can occur.
Irritability and difficulty sleeping. Unfortunately, head lice are to a large degree a nocturnal creature. The irritation caused by the incessant biting, stinging, itching often results in the decline of sleep quality and quantity.
Contact with someone diagnosed. It only takes 3 seconds for a louse to travel from one person to the next. Unfortunately, head lice often spread before the first person infected even starts presenting symptoms. As soon as you, or someone in your home is suspected of having lice, it is very important to check everyone’s head.
You see small objects in hair. Often head lice are misdiagnosed. Checking for lice can cause stress and anxiety but telling the difference between a louse or nit and things like dandruff, dirt or even drops of hairspray can easily be done. A head check may save you money and time in the long run in the instance that lice are not present!
How to Check for Head Lice and Nits!
Step One – Get Tools
Find a well-lit room and/or a bright light (head lamps work great), a comb (preferably a metal lice comb) a damp white paper towel, and something for magnification (reading glasses work good).
Step Two – Section Hair & Check for Nits
Section the hair off into roughly two-inch strips. For longer hair, twist and pin, so that each section is easily accessible while examining for lice. Parcel out small clumps of hair, small enough that you can see through the individual strands. Begin with looking around the ears, nape of the neck and hairline, as this is one of the most common places where lice lay eggs.
What you are looking for
Nits (head lice eggs) are usually an ashy-tan hue; however, the shell of the eggs are translucent. This causes nits to often appear white in dark hair and black in lighter hair.
The BEST indicator of a Nit (egg) in the hair is in the slight shine an egg will give off when it is hit by light. Dandruff is dull and will not have shine.
When you find a spec of something in the hair, run your finger over it. If it moves, this is not a nit. Nits are GLUED to the shaft of the hair, usually about a centimeter from the scalp. So, run your finger over what you find. If it IS glued to the hair, pinch and pull until it is all the way off the strand of hair.
Place what you remove from the hair on a damp, white paper to most accurately identify whether or not this is a nit. If it is a small bulb shape (often you can even see a tiny tail) with a grey/tan color, you have found a nit!
Step Three – Next steps
If you have found nits or lice it is important to treat as soon as possible. But don’t panic, lice do not pose any known immediate health risk. If one infestation is found, be sure to check everyone in the household. Try to limit your contact with others and maintain your personal space. It is also important to contact people the infested individual has been in contact with. When you're finished, boil the comb for a few minutes, or run it through a cycle in the dishwasher (put it on the top rack). Wash your clothes and infested individual’s clothes thoroughly after nitpicking.
Head Lice Tips, Care, & Treatment Options!
& Be Proactive!
Learn about these six-legged parasites.
Sharing is not caring, avoid sharing accessories, brushes or combs, hats, coats, hoodies, sweatshirts and scarves.
Just say no to head-to-head contact and keep physical contact to a minimum.
Long hair should be kept in braids or ponytails.
Make sure to do frequent head checks. Once a week, take a peek.
If one infestation is found, be sure to check everyone in the household.
Alert people that have been in contact with the person that has a possible or current infestation.
Do a follow-through no matter the treatment process you choose.
Who is at risk of getting head lice?
Commonly preschool and school age children 3-11, their siblings and parents.
Anyone who has had head to head contact with infected people.
Sharing hats, combs, or personal items like towels that belong to an infected person.
Hygiene is immaterial to head lice, they enjoy clean and dirty hair equally.
of Your Home!
Head lice are parasites, they are not living in your home, on your furniture or in your bedding. Without blood from your head, they can only live 24-48 hours.
Cleaning that is done is purely precautionary and only needs to be done once!
Place items that have been in contact with head lice in a dryer on high heat.
Soak combs and brushes in hot water (at least 130°F), or run it through a cycle in the dishwasher on the top rack.
Vacuum or use a lint roller on items that cannot be dried or set them aside for 48 hours.
There is no need to spray your house or furniture with harmful pesticides.
Pets do NOT need to be treated.
Spending time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid re-infestation, but if it will give you peace of mind, go for it!
Before you run to the drug store to pick up a prescription or over-the-counter treatment take a moment to evaluate the pros and cons of each removal option available before making a lice treatment decision. There is a wide range of treatment options available for head lice infestations (pediculosis).
Manual Combing & Nit-Picking Treatment
This is the only 100% safe and all-natural process to remove head lice from the scalp and hair without the use of pesticides. Worldwide experts and medical professionals confirm that manual removal with a comb is the safest and most effective way to treat head lice.
Literally, nit-picking is the process of manually combing through and picking all nits from the hair. This manual nit removal is advised even after using a chemical product. Nit-picking is a slow process that includes examining individual hairs from root to end and completely removing all nits with a special fine-toothed comb. When done correctly, manual combing and nit picking can completely remove head lice and nits.
Manual combing and Nit-picking is a process that you can do yourself with the right tools, a little guidance, and some patience. NittyBugs offers a DIY Head Lice Phone Consultation that will get you on your way with confidence to treating your family for head lice.
If this option works best for you, but are not in doing-it-yourself – NittyBugs Mobile Lice Salon is here to help! We offer an all-natural discrete in-home head lice removal treatment service.
Medication and Over-the-counter Treatments
Most of these products contain harsh chemicals and after decades of exposure, studies suggest that lice have developed resistance to many of these treatments. In addition, many of these treatment options still require manually removing nits and lice through combing in conjunction with the product.
Lindane, banned in 52 countries, is in the class of chemical insecticides that includes DDT. Lindane is stored in human tissues and accumulates in the body with repeated use. Overusing, misusing or ingesting Lindane may cause central nervous system toxicity. Since Lindane has been available for more than 50 years, lice have built up resistance. Its use damages hair, creating a straw-like texture. Other options are safer and more effective.
Malathion has been marketed in the U.S. since 1999 as Ovide®. With a high isopropyl alcohol level and pine needle oil, this solution is smelly and flammable. Recommended usage includes leaving the product on the head for eight to twelve hours, making Malathion even less attractive a treatment.
Derived from the flower heads of Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium (pyrethrum) Pyrethrins, are used as an ingredient in lotions, shampoos, mousses and gels to treat head lice. Brand names include RID®, A-200®, Clear Lice System® and Pronto®; generic labels are also available. These products have low toxicity in mammals but persons with allergies to ragweed and flowers may also react to these products. Twenty to 80 percent of treated nits survive, necessitating a second treatment seven to ten days after the first application.
Permethrin, a synthetic modification of natural pyrethrins, is more heat and light stable, highly toxic to lice and less likely to trigger a toxic reaction in humans. Elimite®, Acticin®, Penederm®, and Nix® all contain this compound. Approximately 20 to 40 percent of treated nits survive a Nix treatment; studies suggest that lice have developed resistance to this drug.
The facts are that no over-the-counter or prescription treatments that claim to kill lice that are totally safe nor are they scientifically proven to be 100% effective against head lice and nits.
Other Head Lice Removal Treatments
Controlled Heated Air Devices
Technology that claims to ‘dehydrate’ bugs and kill all three stages of head lice. These dryer treatments run on the premise that the heat will kill the eggs and live bugs in the hair. The issue is that the dryer is not able to get to all the lice and it has no way of removing all the nits from the hair. Per the company’s own literature, manual removal is still necessary.
DIY Home Remedies
We completely understand not wanting to expose anyone to the harsh chemicals of the OTC and Prescription products, but sadly, most home remedies are a not as effective as they claim to be. The majority of the success attributed to these home remedies is a result of manual combing and the nit-picking process. Often these do-it-yourself home remedies can make combing and nit-removal more difficult and less productive. If you are interested in a viable DIY option, manual combing and nit-picking with the right tools, a little guidance, and some patience will get the job done. NittyBugs offers a DIY Head Lice Phone Consultation that will get you on your way with confidence to treating your family for head lice.
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