Head lice are also known as the head louse. It is a wingless parasitic insect that spends its entire life on the human scalp feeding on human blood. Lice and nits also cause severe hair loss specially, if accompanied by secondary infections with pus formation.
Head lice are one of the most common problems encountered by a number of individuals especially school going kids. There are various remedies by means of which you can get rid of head lice. The bites of these parasitic organisms cause the scalp to become extremely itchy and inflamed. Constant scratching may also result in infection, skin irritation and wounds on the scalp. This condition is known as pediculosis. One out of every ten children in school is infested with head lice at some time.
Factors affecting the risk of getting head lice:
Any individual who comes in contact with someone infested with head lice is prone to getting the parasite. It can be also be caught by using clothing, comb, hairbrushes, scarves, caps, ribbons and tee shirts of the infested person. You can also acquire the parasite by lying on the bed, crouch, pillow, blanket or carpet used by the infested person. One of the most common places of picking up head lice is the playground, school, camping sites etc. Pre school and elementary school kids and their families are more prone to this infestation. Girls and women get head lice more often than boys and men.
Forms of head lice:
There are three forms of head lice:
1) Nits: They are oval in shape and are usually yellow or white in color. They are the eggs of the lice that are difficult to see and are often mistaken for dandruff. They are firmly attached to the hair shaft and can be plucked out by hand.
2) Nymphs: In about a weeks time the nit hatches into a nymph which looks like an adult head louse but is smaller in size. In order to survive, the nymph feeds on the blood of an individual through the scalp.
3) The head Louse: A nymph changes into a head louse which is a fully grown parasite and feeds on the human blood from the scalp and attaches its eggs to the hair.
Where are head lice found?
Head lice are found close to the scalp, behind the ears, the nape of the neck and in the hair. One of the first symptoms of head lice are itching or scratching.
How to get rid of head lice ?
Lice breed on dry scalp especially, when humidity is high in the presence of oil, water, dust, dirt and perspiration. Most of the treatments for this parasite contain an insecticide that kills lice. Medical prescription is not required for these drugs and can be obtained from the nearest store. Application of special preparations on the scalp containing mercaptan or sulfur helps treat this condition. The treatment for head lice should be repeated within seven to ten days.
Home remedies to get rid of head lice:
These include the application of a preparation of mayonnaise, petroleum jelly or margarine. These products make it hard for the lice to breathe but don’t kill them. It is strongly suggested not to use gasoline or kerosene to get rid of head lice as these products are extremely dangerous. Various shampoos also contain chemical compounds that help get rid of head lice. It is also recommended to use a head lice elimination comb that has micro bristles that enable you to brush out the head lice without having to use any chemicals.