Lice are parasites feeding on human blood and living on hairy parts of human body. Most often lice settle on scalp, as skin there is thin and there is a lot of hair where the insects can hide. However, in some cases, lice can also infest the pubic hair. They are known as crab or pubic lice. Pubic lice treatment is similar to head lice treatment, though pubic lice are smaller.
Lice are small insects, usually of 0.4-6 mm large. Their body is flattened with an enlarged abdomen. Average lifespan of a louse is about 40 days. Without food it can survive for 10 days. Temperature below +10°C and more than +44°C is unfavorable for lice. However, you can’t use temperature exposure as natural lice treatment as you will have to expose yourself to heat or frost.
When lice pierce their victims’ skin, they inject a certain amount of saliva which prevents blood from clotting. Louse bite is accompanied by skin irritation and severe itching. That is why having a louse in hair is not funny but very bothering.
Why Are Lice Dangerous?
Mouthparts of lice are designed to puncture the upper layers of human skin to suck blood. Therefore, through the contact with human blood lice can transmit a great variety of diseases, some of which may be very dangerous such as relapsing or typhus fever. So it is absolutely necessary to start treating head lice as soon as possible. It is believed that lice develop actively when people do not observe basic rules of hygiene.
The presence of lice on human head is called pediculosis, because the Latin name for a louse is Pediculus humanus. The disease is quite common; so one should know how to treat head lice.
A female louse deposits up to a few hundred eggs at a time. They are called nits. Within 10 days the younger generation of lice appears from the eggs. If you do not start appropriate hair lice treatment in time, within a month you will have serious pediculosis.
Why Do Lice Appear?
Since lice usually appear in places of poor sanitation, the main reason for their appearance is lack of basic hygiene. Lice can be transmitted:
- through clothes and bed sheets;
- through hats and other items associated with hair (combs, hair pins);
- through water in swimming pools or other small water bodies.
In some cases, lice localize and lay eggs in the folds or seams of clothing where they are difficult to detect. Then body lice affect armpits or groin area. In this case, you have to consult a doctor as for the crab louse treatment.
Lice can develop under the following conditions:
- during long journeys or trips, when there is no possibility to observe personal hygiene;
- at seasonal work;
- in kindergartens and schools where children closely contact. The most effective lice treatment for kids include complete shaving of hair or use of non toxic treatment for lice and nits;
- in other crowded places (hospitals, trains, resorts and even theatres).
In such places it is important take preventive measures not to catch lice, because even the best lice treatment is rather time consuming.
Symptoms of Pediculosis
Lice like to settle in temporal and occipital areas of scalp. Therefore it is necessary to check these areas from time to time, which is usually done at schools and kindergartens. If lice settled on your head, you will observe the following symptoms:
- severe itching, which leads to excessive scratching of your scalp, till it bleeds;
- affected skin areas may form abscesses or boils, because of additional infections;
- prolonged pediculosis leads to skin thickening and pigmentation. Therefore it is necessary to start headlice treatment for adults and kids quickly;
- during visual inspection you can find nits in your hair, which cling to individual hairs approximately 1 cm above your skin. Unlike dandruff they are difficult to separate from the hair.
How to Treat Head Lice
It is possible to cure pediculosis. There are many lice treatments that affect the parasites, inhibiting their vital activity or killing them. However, in order to finally get rid of lice and nits you will have to comb out them from your hair.
For the most effective lice treatment the procedure of killing lice and nits should be carried out several times and after each treatment with preparations you will have to comb out dead parasites of your hair.
Pharmacies offer a wide selection of medicine for lice in different forms: solutions, sprays, creams, gels and lotions. These products are very effective in the fight against lice. However, these cures contain quite dangerous substances, so use them strictly according to the instruction, observing all safety precautions.
Lice treatment is usually carried out at home, without prescription. But in some cases there is a need to consult a doctor:
- If a patient is a child under two years, it is necessary that the doctor picks up the medicine as many drugs are prohibited at that age;
- If a patient has asthma or suffers from allergies;
- If nits are found on patient’s eyebrows and eyelashes.
The best way to treat head lice is using special agents. According to some reviews ordinary vinegar also helps. But it is better to apply specially designed remedies. Besides you should observe the following rules:
- Do not use more than one agent simultaneously;
- Follow the instructions to the drug you use;
- Do not dry your hair with an electric hair dryer after a hair treatment with anti-lice drugs, as some of them contain flammable substances;
- Do not use conditioner or hair masks before applying lice medication;
- Do not wash your hair up to 2 days after the treatment;
- Do not use veterinary antiparasitic agents for animals;
- Do not use the same medication more than three times in a row, as it is clear that it does not help and must be replaced.
The most important method of lice appearance prevention is sticking to the basic rules of body care:
- Wash your hair regularly using high-quality shampoo, which is appropriate for your hair type;
- Change your clothes often;
- Change your bed linen at least once every two weeks;
- Comb your hair every day;
- Observe rules of personal hygiene;
- Limit contacts with people who might have lice;
- Do not share things for personal use;
- Check your hair regularly.