Have you ever had head lice? If you have before, or do at this moment, you know it can be a very annoying problem. Your head itches like crazy, and is often irritated. It can also be embarrassing when people notice that you are constantly scratching your scalp, or if you spread the lice to someone you know. Head lice are not dangerous; however, they are highly contagious and should be treated immediately to prevent the spread to everyone you come into contact with.
What are Head lice?
Head lice are tiny parasitic insects that live off of small amounts of blood taken from their host. They live in your hair, where they lay eggs or nits, and spread until they infest your whole head. Anyone can get head lice, but they are most commonly found among school aged children.
How do you get head lice?
As mentioned earlier, head lice are highly contagious. Lice can quickly spread from one person to another through everyday contact. Lice are spread by crawling from the hair of someone who is infected to someone else. They have small claws that enable them to hold onto hair and they are very hard to remove. They can also be spread by sharing clothes, hats or sleeping in the same bed as someone who is infected.
Do I have head lice?
Depending on how sensitive your skin is, you may not have immediate symptoms from head lice. If you are constantly itching and scratching your head for no apparent reason, you probably have head lice. The best way to determine if you have head lice is to have someone inspect your head for either lice or nits. It is usually easier to spot the nits since they do not move, and are usually found in clusters. Nits will appear as small white specs near the base of the hair follicle. They look almost like dandruff, except they can not be brushed or combed out. Adult lice are very hard to spot, since they do not remain still, and can move very fast, quickly climbing from one spot to another. In some cases, if you are more sensitive to the lice bites, you may also have small red sores on your scalp. They can often scab over and swell up, and possibly cause an infection.
How do I treat it?
The most effective way to treat head lice is to use a shampoo made for washing away the lice. Instead of using one of the prescription strength shampoos, or even an over the counter shampoo loaded with chemicals, try using something less toxic. There is an all natural shampoos that works great, by attacking the lice and eggs on contact. It is also important to thoroughly clean your home to make sure that there are no lice living anywhere else. All clothes and linen need to be washed in hot water to make sure all the lice and nits are gone. You should also wash your carpet, and vacuum any furniture in your home to be sure they are not infected. Take no chances!