Having head lice is a problem many parents will see their children suffer at least once, as is lice removal. They are highly contagious and very inconvenient but, like the chicken pox, are quite common. A louse is a parasite insect that lives on humans and feeds off their blood. The head is the most common place to live, since hair often provides excellent cover and shelter for them.
A louse can jump very high and very far–amazingly far considering its tiny size. If you are within a couple of feet from someone who has lice, you are vulnerable to them heading your way. Because a louse is so very tiny, you would probably not notice one jumping toward you or off someone else. The only way to really tell if someone else has lice is if you do a lice check, notice them scratching their head all the time, or see any lice eggs in their hair.
Avoid lice in the first place and then you will not have to worry about getting rid of them. Sharing any type of cloth with someone with lice is the easiest way to get them. They can live in clothing and cloth seats for about two weeks. If you suspect you may have lice, have someone do a check on you, parting and looking through your hair carefully all over.
The eggs will look like tiny white grains of rice and they stick to pieces of hair, especially by the scalp. If you see one of these, immediately go to your local drug store or supermarket and buy a louse shampoo and comb. The shampoo will kill all living bugs on your head, but it will not affect the eggs which have not yet hatched. For this, you need the comb.
The lice comb has teeth that are extremely close together, so it can drag out the tiny eggs. Combing one’s hair with this can be painful, especially for long haired people. The slightest tangle could pull. So with a regular plastic comb, get out the worst of the snarls and then clean off the regular comb extremely well. Use the lice comb then to remove the eggs, cleaning the eggs from it after every stroke.
You must do this several times–for about a week–to ensure you get them all. Bedding, towels, and clothing should be decontaminated daily if it comes into contact with the infected person. It can be stored in a plastic bag for fourteen days to ensure all lice are dead. It can also be microwaved on high for five minutes, or put in the freezer for a day. Washing and putting cloth things in the dryer is not quite enough.
Kids should not be allowed anywhere near stuffed animals, pets, couches, or even allowed to lay down on a carpet. You have to be very strict to keep the lice from spreading or being renewed. Otherwise, everyone in the house will end up getting it and you will not be able to get rid of it.
The other key way to get rid of them (a way embraced mostly by boys) is to shave one’s head. Lice cannot live if there is no hair to shelter them, and no eggs can be planted without a strand of hair. It will also enable you to see if there are any lice on the scalp. This is the fastest way to get rid of them, but many children would prefer the inconvenience and discomfort to the vast embarrassment of being bald.