Lice, you probably get itching on your head when you read the word. Unfortunately, the bug is still a common guest on children’s heads. Have you spotted head lice in your child? Below you can read all about these creatures and more importantly, how to get rid of them.
What are lice?
Lice are parasites that live on human blood. They prefer to stay in hairy and warm places. This means that in practice you often find them behind the ears and on the neck. Although they are irritating and can cause a lot of itching, head lice are not dangerous or harmful. Nor can they transmit diseases.
Not only humans, but also animals can have lice. However, these are different types of lice than the lice that sit on human heads. So you don’t have to worry that your dog and child will infect each other.
How do you recognize head lice?
Lice are not always easy to see, so don’t just look with the naked eye, but also comb the hair with a lice comb. Otherwise, chances are you will miss lice.
Also pay attention to transparent and gray-white tips that stick to the hair. Do you see these dots and do you not easily get them off the hair? Then they are probably lice eggs, or nits.
How do you get lice?
Don’t blame yourself if your child turns out to have lice. It has nothing to do with hygiene or dirty hair. Anyone can get them.
Lice are crawling. They cannot swim or jump like fleas. So head lice often crawl from head to head during direct contact between people. Children therefore have lice more often because they play with each other and are close to each other.
Once the lice land on a head, they spread quickly. One adult louse produces 40 new lice within two weeks. It is therefore important to intervene quickly.
There are two different ways to control lice. You can choose to comb alone. This means that you comb the hair daily for two weeks with a special lice comb. If that does not work enough, you can choose to combine combing with an anti-lice agent. Using only the anti-lice agent is not enough, combing is an essential part of the control.
Tips for combing
- Comb the hair over a white paper or the sink. This way you can recognize the lice more easily. They look like tiny gray-blue or red-brown colored specks the size of a sesame seed.
- Wet the hair and add enough conditioner before combing. This makes the comb easier to slide through the hair.
- Comb the hair from back to front, against the scalp and work in bands from left to right.
- You can remove nits with your nails. If that is difficult, you can first soak them off by dabbing with vinegar.
Many different products are available for controlling lice. These can be found at the drugstore and are available without a prescription. Most remedies come in the form of a lotion or shampoo.
The active substances in these anti-lice agents are usually dimethicone, malathion or permethrin. Because lice are increasingly resistant to malathion and permethrin, it is better to choose an agent with dimethicone. Always follow the leaflet when you use a substance.
Treating the environment
Although you can of course, it is not necessarily necessary to clean the bedding, stuffed toys or coats. Lice that are not on a head do not survive long. For the same reason, the use of lice bags in schools and day care centers is no longer recommended.