What Is Head Lice?
Head lice infestation is medically called as pediculosis capitis. Head lice (louse) are small, blood-sucking tan colored parasites without wings found on human heads. It is a commonly occurring insect, which attaches itself to the scalp and sucks human blood. Lice are minuscule and moving, hard to spot insects especially in thick hair headed persons. Eggs of these lice are called nits. Nits are very tiny and difficult to be seen. Lice lay their eggs (nits) on hair roots; the presence of white nits confirms the implication of a head lice infestation. It should not be confused with any bacterial or viral infectious diseases. Head lice also do not produce any viral infections in the human body. The manifestation of nits also circumstantiates active head lice, even when one doesn’t find any live louse or nymph (infant louse).
What Are The Symptoms Of Head Lice?
Head louse is a condition, which is almost asymptomatic, but the itching is the most common symptom.
- Itching on and near the scalp, and on nearby areas commonly occurs because of an antigen production in reaction to the saliva of the louse. In the first infestation, one may not feel the itching for a month or two.
- Visible Lice in hairs: Since the lice move very fast, they are troublesome to be seen, but sometimes they can be diligently spotted.
- Nits on the hair roots: The lice eggs attach to the hair strands, although they are very difficult to be seen, as they grow in size they become tangible. They can be spotted mostly in the neck hairline and the hairs behind the ears. White nits or light-colored nits are empty and fairly easy to spot as they stick on the hair strands. Though the occurrence of nits doesn't determine a head lice infestation, yet soon they will grow to become lice.
- Head lice also cause a tickling and feeling of some movement in the hair due to the crawling of the lice.
What Are The Causes Of Head Lice?
Few causes of the lice manifestation in the head:
- Head lice are highly contagious. The cause of head lice is not related to one's hygiene or cleanliness issues. Head lice have been around for thousands of years and being social is something humans cannot let go of.
- They transfer from one person to another due to a head to head contact directly or indirectly.
- Since lice can survive for a short time on hair brushes, hats, and clothing, thus these are often held responsible for spreading of infestations.
- Sleeping in the same bed with a person who has lice. Since lice cannot fly, they can crawl from one’s head to the bed, and finally, to another human's head.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Head Lice?
The female lice yield a sticky substance in order to attacheach egg to a hair shaft. Nits are attached at 3/16 inches from the bottom of hair as that is the condition for nits’ incubation. Some tips to follow to eradicate the head lice:
- Nits and lice need to be removed by using a fine-toothed comb.
- Wash and sterilize all bed linen and clothes, which were used by a person infected with the head lice.
- Washing soft toys that are in contact with people infected with lice is also prudent.
- Shampooing frequently helps in lice eradication.
- Sterilize the combs and products used near head region.
- Check the children scalp regularly.
- Vinegar Treatment-White Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar make it quite easier for one to remove lice by combing. Since lice lay their nits (eggs) closer to hair shafts and glue it with a sticky substance. That is where Vinegar comes handy as it is instrumental in slackening that sticky substance and thus nits (eggs) easily comes off while combing.
- Since most lice removal shampoos and oils are freely available in the drug stores, therefore check with a healthcare professional before applying on babies and infants as some ingredients may not be recommended for small children.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Head Lice?
Some Don'ts for eradicating or preventing lice:
- Children should not make head contacts with each other.
- Do not share hats, helmets, earphones and especially combs.
What Are The Best Foods For Head Lice?
One should take a healthy balanced diet. Few foods to consume when infected with lice are/;
- Vitamin C rich foods. Eating foods rich in vitamin C will help with the healing of the lesions and the red bumps that appear after an infection with lice. Some vitamin C rich foods are oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, kale broccoli and red pepper.
- Dairy Products: Some of the dairy products increase the healing rate of the sores and scabs occurred due to head lice. Dairy products have zinc and protein in them which helps in healing the wound at a faster rate. Few dairy products are milk and curd.
- Garlic and bay leaves. Eating raw garlic builds antibodies repel the head lice. The natural compounds and aromatic nature of bay leave also drive away lice.
What Are The Worst Foods For Head Lice?
Few foods that are bad for sores and scabs formed by head lice:
- Junk foods: Junk food contains salt, high saturated fat, and sugar. Consuming such foods results in a lack of vitamins and proteins required in the human body and thus causes inflammation in the body and it delays in wound healing caused by lice.
- Nitrate rich foods: Consuming nitrate rich foods results in damaging of blood vessels, which may cause soreness and delayed healing due to head lice infestation. Few nitrate rich foods include processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, and deli meat.
What Are The Medicines For Head Lice?
What Are The Tips To Manage Head Lice?
- Head lice usually do not originate any serious diseases and can be cured completely.
- Try for traditional remedies that have been used over the years to treat head lice. Medical evidence for these remedies have not been thoroughly studied but using them will not cause any harm on trying. Oils or mayonnaise, and tea-tree oils can be applied on the scalp, and while bathing, cover scalp with a shower cap.