Head lice : Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment

 What is Head Lice?

are a major concern for parents Lice are wingless insects that are related to fleas and mites; they have eight legs and no antennae Lice feed on human blood by biting the scalp causing an itchy and uncomfortable condition called "head lice" or "pediculosis." Head lice are found in all parts of the world especially among children ages three to 12 years old. The incidence of head lice infestation is highest among African-American children followed by Caucasian children and then Asian or Pacific Islander children.

are spread by : Head lice are spread by direct contact including sharing combs hats hairbrushes and helmets They also can be spread from one person to another through indirect contact via clothing or furniture The best way to prevent head lice is to wash all linens in hot water and vacuum carpets and upholstery regularly.

What is Head Lice?
Head Lice

Head lice are small insects that feed on blood from the human scalp. They most often affect kids and usually happen when someone else's hair gets onto your head.

It's not a sign of poor personal hygiene or an unclean living environment if you have head lice. Head lice don't carry bacterial or viral infections, so it's not your fault.

There are over-the-counter and prescription medications available to treat head lice. Follow the instructions carefully to get rid of lice and their eggs.

There is little clinical evidence to suggest that any home or natural remedies work well in treating head-lice infestations.

Medical terms

  • Head lice are tiny bugs that feed on blood from the human scalp. Head lice most usually have an effect on kids. The bugs commonly spread through direct transfer from the hair of 1 person to the hair of any other.
  • Having head lice is not a signal of poor non-public hygiene or an unclean residing surroundings. Head lice do not carry bacterial or viral diseases.
  • Nonprescription and prescription medications can assist in dealing with head lice. Follow remedy commands carefully to rid the scalp and hair of lice and their eggs.

People also use a number of home or natural remedies to do away with head lice. But there may be little to no scientific evidence that they're effective.Head lice can affect all people but occur most usually amongst children between the a long time of three to 11 years vintage, in conjunction with their households. Children are more at risk, as they make head-to-head contact with other youngsters whilst gambling collectively and might share gadgets that have contact with their hair.Head lice infestations are not unusual, affecting an expected 6 million to twelve million human beings each year. Lice are maximum commonplace amongst faculty-age children who're much more likely to have near touch with each other or share combs, brushes, hats and different objects that touch the hair.

  1. Skin

  2. Subcutaneous tissue

Symptoms Head lice

Some common signs and symptoms of a lice infestation can include:

  • Itching.The most common symptom of a lice infestation is itching. This is an allergic reaction to louse bites. It may take several weeks for itching to occur after an infestation- even if a person has had lice before.

  • Lice on scalp.Lice are small and may be visible, but they are difficult to see because they are so small and move quickly.

  • Lice eggs (nits) on hair shafts. Nits attach to hair shafts. It may be difficult to see the nits, as they are very small. They are easiest to spot around the ears and along the hairline on the neck. If there are empty nits present, they will be lighter in color and be further from the scalp. This doesn't necessarily mean that there is an infestation.

  • Sores on the scalp, neck and shoulders.Scratching can cause small red bumps that may sometimes get infected with bacteria.

When to see a doctor

Before you begin treatment, see your doctor if you think you or your child has a head-lice infestation. Studies show that many people treat head lice without being diagnosed with an infestation, using over-the-counter medications or home remedies.

Things often mistaken for nits include:

  • Dandruff

  • Residue from hair products

  • There is a bead of dead hair tissue on the hair shaft (a hair cast).

  • Scabs, dirt or other debris

  • Other small insects found in the hair

Causes Head lice

A head louse is an insect about the size of a strawberry seed that feeds on human blood from someone's scalp. The female louse produces a sticky substance that firmly attaches each egg to the base of a hair shaft no more than 3/16 inch (5 millimeters) from the scalp.

The louse life cycle

A louse goes through three stages:

  • Eggs that hatch after six to nine days.

  • NymphsLice take their form as juveniles for nine to twelve days.

  • Adult liceLice live for about three to four weeks.The female louse lays six to ten eggs every day.


Head lice cannot fly or jump. They crawl, but they can pass from one person to another when contact is direct - often within a family or among children who spend a lot of time together.

Lice rarely spread from one person to another through direct contact, but they may do so indirectly, for example, by items such as clothes.

  • Hats and scarves

  • Brushes and combs

  • Hair accessories

  • Headphones

  • Pillows, towels and upholstery

Lice can be transferred from clothing that is stored together. For example, hats or scarves that are hung on the same hook or in the same locker can spread the lice.

Dogs and cats are not responsible for spreading head lice.

Risk factors Head lice

Head lice are located global. In the USA, infestation with head lice is most not unusual amongst pre-faculty kids attending child care, essential schoolchildren, and the family individuals of infested children. Although reliable facts on what number of human beings in the United States get head lice every year aren't to be had, an estimated 6 million to 12 million infestations arise every year inside the United States amongst kids three to eleven years of age. In the USA, infestation with head lice is lots less not unusual among African-Americans than among people of different races, likely due to the fact the claws of the pinnacle louse discovered most frequently inside the United States are higher tailored for greedy the shape and width of the hair shaft of other races.

Head lice flow by crawling; they can not hop or fly. Head lice unfold by direct contact with the hair of an infested character. Anyone who comes in head-to-head contact with someone who already has head lice is at best a hazard. Spread by using touch with clothing (consisting of hats, scarves, coats) or other private items (along with combs, brushes, or towels) used by an infested person is unusual. Personal hygiene or cleanliness within the domestic or faculty has nothing to do with getting head lice.

Lice are most likely to be transmitted when someone directly contacts their head with another person's head. Cases of lice are most common among children aged preschool through elementary school.

Complications Head lice

If your child has an itchy scalp from head lice, it's possible for the skin to break and become infected.

What is the fastest way to get rid of head lice?

Use a nit comb This metal tool has coarse teeth that can trap lice and nits or eggs and pull them out of hair If you aren't sure whether your child has head lice don't use a nit comb to look for the bugs or their eggs Instead use a magnifying glass to check for lice or nits.

What kills head lice permanently?

There are many different methods for killing head lice but most of them do not kill the eggs The only way to ensure that all of the lice and their eggs are dead is by using a special lotion containing permethrin This is available over-the-counter and in some cases your physician may prescribe it You should not use this product if you have sensitive skin or are allergic to any of its ingredients.

How do you treat head lice at home?

Head lice can be a bit tricky to deal with If you or your child has them don't despair -- it's possible to get rid of and prevent head lice at home First take an over-the-counter medication for head lice if applicable These products are available at drugstores and are applied directly to the scalp After using this product comb through the hair with a fine-toothed comb from one end of the hair shafts to the other after each shampooing or two until you no longer see any live bugs To prevent further infestation wash all linens and articles of clothing in hot water (130 degrees Fahrenheit).

How do you get rid of lice overnight?

Getting rid of lice can be difficult In most cases you'll need to use over-the-counter or prescription medications to kill lice but these treatments take time You also may not want to use chemicals on your child's hair Home remedies for killing lice don't work as well as chemical treatments and certain home remedies aren't safe for children or adults because they may cause irritation or allergic reactions.

What kills lice and eggs instantly?

If you want to rid your home of lice and their eggs (called nits) it's necessary to use a product that contains an ingredient called pyrethrins Pyrethrins are extracted from the chrysanthemum plant and act on the nervous system of adult lice killing them within minutes They also have a repellent effect causing adult lice to leave hair shafts in search of another host.

Head lice are a common problem among school-age children particularly in the early fall when they return to school Once head lice infest a child's hair their presence can quickly spread to others through direct head-to-head contact or by sharing personal items like combs and brushes Luckily there is no need to panic if your child comes home with head lice; it is easy to treat and control Treating head lice generally involves shampooing the hair with an over-the-counter medication that kills adult head lice and nits (eggs) Because it takes about seven days for new eggs to hatch after being laid repeating.

Prevention Head lice

It's hard to prevent the spread of head lice among children in child care facilities and schools, because there is a lot of close contact.

There is a very small chance that indirect transmission of head lice will occur from personal belongings. You may want to tell your child to:

  • Hang clothing on a separate hook from other children's clothes.

  • Do not share combs, brushes, hats, or scarves.

  • Don't sleep on beds, couches, or pillows that have been in contact with someone who is infected with head lice.

It is not a good reason to avoid sharing headgear for sports and bicycling when necessary, since worries about head-lice transmission are not considered good reasons.

Diagnosis Head lice

The diagnosis of a head lice infestation is first-rate made through finding a stay nymph or adult louse on the scalp or hair of someone. Because nymphs and grownup lice are very small, flow fast, and avoid mild, they can be tough to locate. Use of a magnifying lens and a quality-toothed comb can be beneficial to locate stay lice. If crawling lice are not visible, locating nits firmly attached inside a ¼ inch of base of the hair shafts strongly suggests, however does not confirm, that a person is infected and needs to be treated. Nits which are connected greater than ¼ inch from the bottom of the hair shaft are almost constantly dead or already hatched. Nits are often pressured with other things discovered inside the hair which include dandruff, hair spray droplets, and dirt particles. If no live nymphs or grownup lice are seen, and the best nits observed are extra than ¼-inch from the scalp, the infestation is probably antique and now not energetic and does not want to be handled.

  1. Palpation

If you aren't positive if someone has head lice, the diagnosis must be made by using their fitness care provider, nearby health department, or other individual educated to become aware of live head lice.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the use of live lice to diagnose an active head-lice infestation.

To prevent head lice, your doctor will carefully comb your child's hair with a fine-toothed comb (a nit comb) from the scalp to the end of the hair. If no live louse is found, your doctor may repeat this process. The entire exam can be taken at a second appointment.

Identifying nits

Your doctor will look for nits in your child's hair. If they find nits, this may support the diagnosis of an active lice infestation. But it is not always clear if a person has lice based on the presence of nits.

A live unit needs to be close to the scalp in order to survive. If it is found more than about 1/4 inch from the scalp, it is likely dead or empty. You can examine it under a microscope to see if it is still alive - this indicates an active lice infestation.

If no lice nits are found, they most likely came from an earlier infestation and do not need to be treated.

Treatment Head lice

Treatment for head lice consists of using over-the-counter medicated or prescription shampoos, lotions or lotions that get rid of head lice. Over-the-counter medicated shampoos contain a substance known as pyrethrin or permethrin that kill lice and nits.

Lice and nits connect to the strands of your hair and may be hard to get rid of until you operate a best-toothed comb to loosen them. After using a comb or brush, soak the comb in hot water for 10 minutes.

Make positive you observe the guidelines on over the counter drugs. The treatment is only a success if you follow the commands on a way to apply the remedy, how lengthy you have to leave it for your hair and how frequently you ought to repeat the remedy.

Your doctor will likely recommend an over-the-counter (OTC) medication that will kill lice and some of the nits. These medications might not kill newly laid eggs. Therefore, a second treatment is usually necessary to kill nymphs after they hatch but before they become adult lice.

A second treatment may be recommended if the first treatment was successful. It is important to ask your doctor for written instructions on a recommended treatment schedule, as there are many different options.

Over-the-counter (OTC) products

OTC medications are based on a chemical compound called pyrethrin. This compound is extracted from the chrysanthemum flower, and it is toxic to lice. Before using one of these treatments, wash your child's hair with shampoo without conditioner. Rinsing the hair with white vinegar before washing may help break down the glue. When using a medication to treat head lice, follow the instructions on the package. Leave the medication in the child's hair for the recommended amount of time and then rinse their hair with warm water.

OTC medications include the following:

  • Permethrin (Nix).Permethrin is a synthetic version of pyrethrin. It won't kill the nits, but you'll need to treat it again nine to 10 days later. Some people experience redness and itching after using it.

  • Pyrethrin with additives (Rid). This over-the-counter medication includes pyrethrin, a chemical that helps it to work more effectively. Side effects may include itching and redness of the scalp. Pyrethrin should not be used if you have an allergy to pyrethrin or any other ingredients in this medication. If your child is allergic to Chrysanthemum or Ragweed, they may have a reaction.

Prescription medications

Some regions have developed resistance to over-the-counter (OTC) medications. OTC treatment may not be effective if it is not repeated at an appropriate time.

If a treatment prescribed by a doctor has not worked, your doctor may prescribe an over-the-counter (OTC) treatment. These include things like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin).

  • Ivermectin (Sklice). Ivermectin is harmful to lice. It is approved for use by people aged 6 months or older. It can be applied dry to hair, and then rinsed with water after 10 minutes. Ivermectin is also available in tablet form for children who weigh more than 33 pounds if other topical treatments have not worked. Lice cannot be effectively eliminated from a person's hair.

  • Spinosad (Natroba).Spinosad is approved for use by people aged six months or older. It can be applied to dry hair and rinsed with warm water after 10 minutes. Spinosad usually needs to be used only once, and it will kill lice and nits.

  • Malathion. Malathion is approved for use by adults. The lotion is applied and left to dry naturally. Rinsing it out after eight to twelve hours will remove the drug. The lotion has a high alcohol content, so it cannot be heated or exposed to direct sunlight. It can be reapplied seven to nine days after the first application. If necessary, the first treatment should be performed.

Lifestyle and home remedies

There is no clinical evidence that any alternative home treatments work better than using a medication to treat head lice.


Wet hair may be combed to remove lice and nits. However, this method is not always successful. Studies show that it varies depending on the number of lice and nits present.

Before beginning hair braiding, wet the hair and add something to lubricate it, such as a hair conditioner or olive oil. Comb the entire head from the scalp to the end of the hair at least twice during a session. The process should be repeated every three to four days for several weeks—at least that's how long it will take to see results. Two weeks after no more lice are found, the child is free of lice.

Essential oils

Some natural plant oils are thought to kill lice by suffocation, but the effectiveness of this approach is uncertain. Some products that contain these oils include:

  • Tea tree oil

  • Anise oil

  • Ylang-ylang oil

These products do not have to meet safety standards used for drugs that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved, and sometimes people can have allergic reactions to them.

Smothering agents

To treat head-lice, many household items are used. These products deprive the lice of air when they are generously applied to the hair covered with a shower cap and left on overnight. Some of these items include:

  • Mayonnaise

  • Olive oil

  • Margarine or butter

  • Petroleum jelly

Even though these treatments are supposed to be effective, we don't know for sure.


There is an option to kill head lice using hot air. This process requires special training and is currently available only at professional lice treatment centers.

The machine uses air that is cooler than a regular hair dryer and at a much higher flow rate. This causes the lice to die from dehydration. A regular hair dryer should not be used to achieve this goal, as it is too hot and could burn the scalp.

Dangerous products to avoid

Kerosene or gasoline are not appropriate for use to kill lice or remove nits. These products are flammable, and could easily ignite if used in this way.

Household cleaning

Lice don't usually live more than one day without feeding from a human scalp, and eggs don't survive if they're not incubated near the scalp. Therefore, the chance of lice surviving on household items is small.

You may clean things that the person with the virus has used in the past two days. Cleaning recommendations include the following: -Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. -Avoid contact with eyes, nose, and mouth. -Clean surfaces where the person has been or might have been.

  • Wash items in hot water.Wash stuffed animals and clothing in hot water — at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54.4 degrees Celsius)—and dry at high heat.

  • Clean hair care items.Wash combs brushes and hair accessories by soaking them in hot, soapy water for five to 10 minutes.

  • Seal items in plastic bags.Protect items that cannot be washed in plastic bags for two weeks.

  • Vacuum.Vacuum the floor and furniture. Clean them thoroughly.

Preparing for your appointment

If you think your child has head lice, see a doctor. Your doctor will examine your child's scalp and look for live lice. If your doctor finds evidence of an active head-lice infestation, your child may need to get treatment. It is necessary to examine suspect items under a microscope before confirming a diagnosis of head-lice infestation.

General summary

  1. Head lice are tiny insects that feed on human blood and live in the hair of the head behind the ears and around the neck They are spread from one person to another when their heads come into contact with one another or with shared items such as hats scarves combs and brushes Newborns can be infected by their mothers before birth or during breastfeeding after birth Children have a tendency to get infested through head-to-head contact with other children at school or day care centers; this is due to close proximity sharing of personal items such as hats combs brushes and scarves Head lice infestation is most common among children between.

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