Head lice and nits are an inconvenient problem, but they do not pose a health risk to your family. If you do find yourself with an infestation in your home, there is no need to panic since getting rid of head lice and nits can be dealt with quickly. Read on to discover how infestations occur and how to prevent another incident of head lice in your home.
A itchy scalp is a sign of head lice, but hair does not have to be dirty for an infestation to occur. To check the hair, go to a brightly lit area and use a fine toothed comb to carefully examine the hair shaft close to the scalp. A louse is very small, but nits are more visible. They will appear much like dandruff, but you will not be able to brush it off easily. Lice are spread through direct and indirect contact, and is most commonly transferred through shared clothing, combs and brushes, head rests and head sets. Luckily, a louse cannot survive more than three days without a human host.
Infestations are very common among children in child care centers and schools. To diagnose a case of lice, you need to find live insects because the nits can be found before the lice are actually born. If you do find nits, check again in one week, and then again after two weeks if another child has any. Check close to the scalp, behind the ears, the back of the neck and on top of the head.
There are a number of very effective over the counter treatments for getting rid of head lice, all of which contain an insecticide that kills the lice. There are currently three approved insecticides which are pyrethrin, permethrin and lindane.
Lindane can be toxic, so never use a product containing it on infants or young children. Use the products as directed and do not leave the shampoo or rinse in hair longer than instructed because they can burn the scalp. It is best to do the treatment and rinsing over a sink, not in the bath or shower so that other parts of the body do not come in contact with the product. You should repeat the treatment a week later. Do not consider these shampoos a preventative measure, and do not use them unless you find lice.
Once you have dealt with your hair, getting rid of head lice from your house is very simple. Wash all of your sheets, towels and recently worn clothing using hot water and a very hot dryer. A thorough vacuuming will take care of carpet and furniture since lice do not live long without a host. Remember also to clean the upholstery in your car. After that, educate yourself and your family about how head lice spread. They are the kind of house guests that you never want to come back!