Saturday, August 6, 2016

What every parents needs to know about headlice

Head lice are tiny, wingless parasitic insects that love human hair and feed on blood drawn from the scalp. The adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, has six legs, and is tan to grayish-white in colour.

 Nits are lice eggs which are hard to see and are often confused with dandruff. Nits are found firmly attached to the hair shaft close to the scalp. They are oval and usually yellow to white.

Head lice are most frequently located on the scalp behind the ears, near the neckline and at the back of the head.

It is estimated that one in every 10 children in school acquires head lice at some time. Lice have been around since the beginning of humanity. In fact, testing has determined that the human head louse has been a distinct human parasitic organism for over 70,000 years.

Anyone who comes in close contact with someone who already has head lice, their contaminated clothing or other belongings, are at risk.  It is easy to transmit head lice from one person to another. Preschool and elementary school children (3-10 years of age) are infected most often.

 Over-the-counter products such as RID and Nix use toxic chemicals such as Permethrin and Pyrethrum to poison and kill lice. Consult you doctor for advice.

Manual methods are the most effective for destroying lice. Lice may develop resistance to certain chemicals; however, they will never be able to resist being removed by hand,  eliminating the risk of using chemicals that may harm children.

Although lice sound dangerous, they are quite harmless (if caught early). Head lice in their prime, have proven to be an ongoing problem within the homes of families especially as we enter into the back-to-school season.

It is important not only to clear your child’s head of lice, but also to wash household fabrics such as bedding and stuffed animals in hot water to kill the lice and their eggs.

Please do not visit Barbershops or Hair Salons with this problem as it is a health and safety hazard with risk to others and a serious inconvenience to their business.