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How to Prevent Head Lice

You probably remember when you were a kid in school how they would get the class to line up and check each student’s hair for head lice. They still do that today. There is always a lice outbreak going on somewhere in the state of Florida. Brevard County has its fair share of lice problems as well.

What are Head Lice?

Head Lice are a tiny insect that are about 1/8″ long, have a flattened head and six legs. These type of lice are specifically called head lice because they attach themselves to the hair follicles on the human head. Here they lay their eggs on the follicle itself. After the egg hatches, the tiny lice crawl their way toward the scalp. In fact, this is how medical staff can tell how long a person has had head lice. They measure the distance from the egg to the scalp.

Transmission

Head lice do not jump or fly, they crawl. They are spread person to person. It is estimated that 10% of children will get head lice sometime in their life. There are reportedly about 8 million new cases every year, so it is classified as extremely common.

Prevention

The easier said than done advice is to avoid contact with a person while they have a lice problem. The issue with that is many people can go weeks without realizing they have lice and therefore are unaware that they do.

If your children share clothing with other children, this is another way that head lice can be spread. If a child has a sleep-over and just one of the kids has lice, they all can get it.

It is a good idea to routinely change bedding and to wash it in hot water. Regular laundry also helps to prevent transmission. Dry-clean clothes that are not able to be washed in a machine or by hand.

Treatment

There are over-the-counter lice treatments you can use. There are also prescription lice medicines. Both are effective if used properly. Wash all clothing and bed linen. Don’t forget to wash jackets and outerwear. Wash combs, brushes and even toothbrushes with hot water of at least 130 degrees F.

Head lice do not carry any disease but they are annoying and can get increasingly worse. The scalp can become very itchy and the scratching associated with it can cause irritation. It is best to get rid of lice as soon as they are discovered.

15 Jan
2020

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