ADVERTISEMENT
Dermatologists and Skin Care Data Verified

How to Protect Your Kids from Head Lice Infestation?

Published on Aug 29, 2015 and last reviewed on Jun 01, 2022   -  4 min read

Abstract

This article discusses in detail the prevention and treatment of head lice.

Contents
How to Protect Your Kids from Head Lice Infestation?

What Are Head Lice?

The lice feed and grow on human hairs, especially on the scalp, and lay their eggs on the hair. The lice can be seen with the naked eye, although it is common to see the aggregates of eggs (called nits) attached to the shafts of hairs. To check that the structures attached to the hairs are indeed lice eggs, a fairly simple way is to attempt detaching the suspected nits away from the hair. In the case of nits, you will not succeed at that, but you can slide the nits along the length of the hairs. The lice feed on blood and die if they are not fed for a couple of days.

What Is Pediculosis Capitis?

The medical condition involving infestation with human lice is called pediculosis capitis. Head lice (lice is the plural of louse) is one of the commonest parasitic infestations involving infection with the adult mites and their eggs, leading to various degrees of skin and hair changes that may be mild to severe.

The infection mainly affects the pre-school and school children, with more girls being affected than boys. However, no age is exempted from this condition. It is the hygiene that matters most. The condition is diagnosed based on visual examination and symptoms. The infection spreads by direct and contact-mediated by shared objects, particularly combs and hairbrushes.

What Are the Symptoms of Head Lice Infestation?

The most frequent complaints in head lice infections are:

Please remember that many cases may be free of symptoms despite carrying the infection. Therefore, it is essential to trace the source of infection and treat all contacts simultaneously.

What Is the Treatment for Head Lice Infestation?

It makes good sense for the patient to have a haircut before starting the treatment.

Before starting treatment, it should be ensured that secondary infections in the form of ulcers, pus-filled lesions, and bumps have been adequately taken care of because the main treatment involves using medicines that may irritate the skin if used without controlling secondary infection first.

The treatment involves the application of medication to the whole scalp and all along the length of hairs after washing and combing with a fine comb having narrow spaces between the bristles. It must be left in place for one to two nights to have sufficient contact of medicine with the infected area.

From time to time, manual removal of nits with special combs is beneficial as it reduces the overall load of infection. All contacts should receive the treatment simultaneously.

The treatment should be repeated week after week as long as all live mites have been killed and the nits have been removed. This is generally ensured by simple visual scanning. Periodic examination of the scalp is necessary to prevent a recurrence.

It is equally important to treat the infected person’s head and scalp accessories appropriately to disinfect them. For example, the heat-resistant clothes can be machine washed using a hot cycle at a temperature of 54 degrees Celsius or higher in water for 20 minutes or sealed in plastic bags and stored for two weeks. Likewise, one can soak combs and brushes in alcohol or chemical disinfectant, dry them, seal them in plastic bags, and keep them again in the freezer for two weeks.

Over-the-counter shampoos and lotions can also help treat head lice. However, if these do not work, the doctor might recommend prescription shampoos to get rid of head lice, such as,

How Can We Prevent Head Lice Infestation?

The following measures might be followed adequately to prevent head lice infestation in children:

How Are Head Lice Different from Dandruff?

Dandruff is a condition that produces scales in the scalp and is called seborrheic dandruff. Unlike, it is believed, you cannot acquire dandruff from another individual. On the other hand, head lice are parasites transmitted from one person to another.

Conclusion:

Head louse is a common manifestation in school-going children. Although not a severe condition, it can bring about itching and bump formation in children in severe cases. Also, it can be a disgusting condition that can cause the affected child to be neglected by their friends, which impacts the child's mental health. Therefore, constant evaluation for head lice in the child is needed, and also educating the child about the important ways to prevent head lice infestation is mandatory. Reach out to a healthcare provider when this problem persists for a more extended period even after taking the necessary treatment measures.

ADVERTISEMENT

Last reviewed at:
01 Jun 2022  -  4 min read

RATING

15

Tags:

Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers


Can you suggest treatment for facial dryness and itchy scalp?

Query: Hi doctor, Today I visited a dermatologist for facial dryness, dandruff, boils and itchy scalp. I was prescribed Episoft cleansing lotion, Cetaphil cream, Fusirose lotion and 8X shampoo. Fusirose lotion is out of stock near my place and online. Can you please suggest a substitute lotion? I bough...  Read Full »

Cryptosporidiosis - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Article Overview: Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic infection. Read this article to know more about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Read Article


Sandeep V. Nair
Sandeep V. Nair
Medical Gastroenterology

What Is Cryptosporidiosis? Cryptosporidiosis is a condition caused by a parasite called cryptosporidium. This parasite lives in water, soil, and food. It can be seen on the surfaces that have been contaminated with feces. Cryptosporidium is a worldwide parasite and can be found in poor sanitation ar...  Read Article

How is an itchy scalp treated?

Query: Hi doctor, I have itchy scalp and have started losing hair. Can I get help on this?  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Parasitic Infection or Itchy Scalp?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.