Sunday, February 9, 2014

How To Recognize And Treat Head Lice

Head lice have been around for thousands of years: in order to survive, they have adapted to their environment - human hair - and our attempts to get rid of them. In recent times, head lice infestations have become resistant to treatment, and their removal has become an even bigger challenge. Repeated infestations are unfortunately very common!
Head lice are wingless, six-legged insects, about the size of a sesame seed. Their color varies from reddish to whitish brown - they may look darker in those with dark hair, and lighter in those with lighter hair. They can only live on human head where they feed on blood, and when removed, they die quickly.
They don't have jumping legs, so they can only crawl - and they crawl surprisingly quickly. That makes it easy for them to hide, and hard for you to spot them! They avoid light and are most active at night.
Their eggs, called nits, are oval and about the size of a pinhead. They resemble dandruff, but are firmly attached to the hair shaft and can't be brushed off. Nits are very difficult to spot: they are yellow or white, but live nits can sometimes appear to be the same color as the hair.
The most common symptom of head lice is scratching, but that symptom is unreliable because it may not start for several weeks after the infestation. A diagnosis can only be made when a live louse is found!
To diagnose head lice, comb hair conditioner onto dry or wet brushed hair. Wet combing is more accurate because lice remain motionless when wet! If you have lice, this method stuns them and makes it difficult for them to grip the hair or crawl around the scalp. Comb sections of hair with a fine tooth comb, and look for lice or nits in the hair conditioner that you have just wiped out.
Head lice infestation is commonly misdiagnosed: use a magnifying glass if needed, and never begin treatment "just in case". Only if live (crawling) lice or unhatched nits are found, the hair should be treated.
You can use the comb and conditioner method every other day, until there have been no live lice found for ten days, or you can apply some lotion or shampoo specifically formulated to treat head lice. Pharmacological treatment includes use of medicines that kill lice, and medicines that kill lice eggs. Retreatment is necessary.-By
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