Head lice

Just hearing the word “lice” makes your head itch and you begin to scratch it. No doubt it is a painstaking issue especially when your school-going comes home with it. It is a common problem in school going age. Dr Samra Hassan, a pediatrician based in Lahore say that children catch head lice more often than adults.sni

Head Lice

Head lice are tiny, six legged parasitic insects that live in the human hair and on the scalp. They feed on the blood they suck from human scalp. They are extremely contagious. Nits, which are the eggs of lice, are notoriously hard to identify. They are not on the scalp but on hair strands. Sometimes it becomes difficult to differentiate between nits and dandruff.sni

Symptoms & Causes

Though, not a disease it causes a serious discomfort and itching. Scratching and irritated scalp along with the rashes on the back of the neck are its most obvious signs. Close contact of children, by sharing personal objects like hats, scarves, towels, combs, brushes, hair bands or simply by sitting together increases the risk.sni

The hardest thing about the issue is the guilt and embarrassment that comes with it. Dr Shaista Khan, a pediatrician based in Rawalpindi say it is usually taken as what will people think of us. They will definitely believe we have hygiene issue.sni

Treatment of Head Lice

There is no quick fix to it. Many find chemicals to be effective while some remove them with the help of a lice comb. Doctors usually recommend medicated shampoos. They can be helpful as long as applied with proper instructions. Nits are resistant to over-the-counter shampoos. Apply conditioner after shampooing, leave for several minutes and then comb hair with lice comb. It should be treated for at least six days after first application. In this way, if any nits were able to survive the first treatment, the second attempt will kill them before they are old enough to lay eggs.sni

Lice can easily camouflage in the hair and become difficult to detect therefore, timing is important in this treatment cycle. You can use an anti-lice shampoo. Comb hairs in all four directions until your comb has come out clean repeatedly. Wash the comb carefully with warm water after use.sni

Natural Remedies for Lice

There are some natural ways to deal with it. For example, spray tea tree oil and olive oil mixture on the whole scalp and cover it with a shower cap for complete saturation. Leave it for several hours. This will suffocate the lice.sni

Similarly, neem oil is also effective because of its bitterness and sharp odor. Repetition of the remedy is important. Onion juice and vinegar can be helpful in some cases. Even coconut oil shows a positive result for this problem.sni

Be careful about using chemicals because of allergy threats. Take advice from doctor before applying any kind of chemical on child’s scalp. Home remedies and proper combing can be fruitful most of the time.sni

According to Dr Samra hair hygiene is highly important. It is almost impossible to stop your children from catching lice. You cannot isolate your child from others. By adopting precautionary and preventive methods you can control lice. Make it a routine to check your child’s hair. Initially it can be twice a week then once a week. This exercise is necessary in maintaining good hygiene. Tie up your child’s hair properly; braiding is a good option for girls to prevent the problem. Boys should keep their hair short.sni

Treat the entire family members for lice even if one child gets it. Avoid sharing towels, combs, hats, scarves, pillow, etcetera covers with others. Wash your clothes in warm water with a good detergent. So, no more shame moms. Getting rid of lice is a lot of work. But doing it the right way initially can save you from a lot of hassle.sni

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