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Treatment Remedies for Headlice - Scratching Out Headlice

Jan 23, 2008
Coping with an infestation of headlice is a hair raising experience, but it can be handled with a trip to the pharmacy. Topical treatments and some good old fashioned soap and water can deal with an infestation quickly and effectively. In this article, we'll share advice on battling a bout and preventing the pests from coming back.

Lice are reddish brown bugs that live on the human head. They feed on blood, so they cannot survive on furniture, clothing or upholstery for more than two or three days. They also do not hop, jump or fly, so they are transmitted through direct and indirect contact with an infected person. Lice and lice eggs are most commonly spread through sharing items such as hats, combs, hair brushes and headphones. When searching for lice, sit in a brightly lit area and use a fine toothed lice comb. Look for lice and lice eggs in the hot spots, such as around the ears, at the crown of the head and at the nape of the neck. They lay their eggs close to the scalp but look along the whole hair shaft. Lice eggs are oval shaped, grayish-white in color and can't be flicked off.

Studies have shown that lice are building a resistance to some pesticide head lice products. If you do have an infestation, consult your pharmacist to find out which product is best. Generally, an over-the-counter topical treatment is combined with the manual removal of nits for a two week period. Be sure to inform the pharmacist if you plan to use the product on children. Shampoos or creams containing lindane should never be used on babies, infants and children under fifty pounds.

The good news about an infestation of headlice is that they can't live on your furniture and belongings because they need human blood to survive. Extreme heat is a louse's worst enemy. Take all of your sheets and blankets, towels, and recently worn clothing and wash them in hot water. To dry them, use a very hot dryer setting for at least twenty minutes. High heat will kill eggs clinging to the fabric. To clean furniture, carpeting and curtains, a pesticide spray isn't necessary. A thorough vacuuming should do the trick. For items that can't be washed or vacuumed, put them into a sealed back for at least 48 hours.

Not giving headlice the chance to breed is key to halting an infestation. Even after you've undergone treatment for head lice, continue to carefully check for lice and nits. After a week, apply the topical treatment again to kill any new lice that may have hatched. Once you've won the battle, be careful not to invite more trouble by sharing hats and hair brushes. Even someone who appears to have clean hair may unknowingly be carrying the nits. It's definitely better to be safe than sorry.
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