Lice are tiny insects that live in the hair and skin of humans. Although they are very small, lice are visible with the naked eye. Lice have several variations including head and pubic. Head lice are the most common variety. This type of lice is easily transmittable from human to human. Lice can live on the human scalp and hair up to 30 days, and their eggs, or nits, can live upwards of 2 weeks. In order to protect yourself against lice, there are steps you can take to avoid lice infestation.
Head lice are spread by being in close proximity with other people who have lice. Lice are not an indicator of poor hygiene or social status as anyone is susceptible to an infestation once contact has been made. School age children are the group with the highest incidence of lice reports. To avoid getting lice, do not share hats, hair brushes, combs or hair accessories with others who may have lice. Also, avoid contact with sheets, bedding or towels of someone who has lice.
Signs You Have Lice
Common symptoms of being infected with lice include intense itching of the hair and scalp, small red bumps on the scalp, neck and back, and pearly white specks on the hair shaft or scalp that are difficult to remove. Any one, or all, of these symptoms signifies that lice may be to blame. In order to be certain, part the hair and look for physical signs of lice, namely, their eggs.
If you suspect that you have a problem, there are a few ways to get rid of lice. The quickest and easiest way to get rid of lice is by shaving the hair completely and thoroughly cleaning any items that may have come in contact with the lice. Secondly, rinsing the hair with a shampoo containing 1% permethrin will kill the lice. However, the eggs must still be removed. This special shampoo is available over the counter at any drug store.
Lice are easily treatable despite the temporary discomfort they cause. However, if caught early, lice can be eradicated with minimal disruption to everyday life. By following the simple steps above, lice are preventable.