Head lice (also known as head louse) is a common insect with parasitic tendencies. Head lice normally like living in human hair and feeds by drawing small amounts of blood from the scalp. Even though head lice do not spread any contagious disease they can cause a lot of irritation to the scalp. It is very common amongst school aged kids especially those between ages three to twelve.
Who Can Get Head Lice ?
Head lice can invade any ones hair although it is most common amongst kids. Head lice are very contagious spreading very quickly from one person to the next. Adults may get infected from camp activities where they have to share bed or blankets.
This condition is mainly caused by a parasitic insect which multiply rapidly and within a very short period of time will be present through out the whole head. A lice may develop from a nymph upon hatching of the eggs to an adult within seven days. Lice can survive up to a minimum of three days off the scalp. When on the scalp they feed on blood up to four to six hours at a time.
Incessant scratching of the head is the most common symptom of head lice. As head lice feed on blood through the scalp, the process causes itching and irritation, making you constantly scratch your head. Some kids will often bug their parents telling them that they feel moving things in their heads. Constant scratching of the head might lead to swelling of the lymph glands. Further scratching may cause lesions that may lead to bacterial infections.
Medicated lotions can effectively eliminate lice from the head. Other medicated shampoos and creams can also eliminate the lice from the head. The lice may sometimes be resistant to medicated shampoos, lotions as well as creams prescribed over the counter. In such cases you should consult a doctor who will recommend an alternative cream or shampoo to manage the situation. Parents are warned that medicated shampoos, creams as well as lotions are insecticides which should not be used excessively. They should be applied sparingly and once the medication process is over they should be discarded.
It is also advised that medical creams, lotions as well as shampoos should not be used on kids below three years of age. On these kids the lice should be removed manually. A parent can easily use a comb to remove the lice. They should let the lice fall on the floor because they won’t survive for long on the floor.
There are several alternative treatments for head lice. The alternative treatments are very effective just like modern medical creams. The major advantage of alternative medicine is that they have no side effects. They are extracted from plant leaves through steaming. These extracted oils were the ones used to treat head lice during pre-historic periods. They were effective then and are still effective.