What are they?
Headlice are tiny grayish parasitic insects that live in the hair. They cling to the hair, close to the scalp and suck blood from the skin. Infestation by headlice occurs sporadically among young children.
Symptoms: Persistent itching and scratching of the scalp, the eggs of the lice (nits) are visible as tiny white grains clinging to the hair. Scalp irritation, often concentrated behind the ears or the on the back of the neck, in severe cases the lymph glands in the neck mat swell.
Transmission: Lice move directly from the head of one person to that of another through: Direct contact with an infected person or stray hair that have nits, Clothing, for example hats and ribbons. Personal items, for example brushes, combs, towels and pillowcases.
Treatment in the home: Lotions and shampoos that kill lice and make the nits inactive are available from your pharmacy. Follow instructions on the package insert carefully and repeat the treatment a week later. This will ensure that any lice that have hatched from nits since the first treatment are killed. Destroy headgear within which nits may be lodged. Disinfect brushes and combs with the products applied to the hair. Choose the hot water cycle of the washing machine when washing clothes, sheets, towels etc. If your child has headlice, report it to his/her school. Lice infestation is considered a health hazard, and steps are always taken to prevent further spreading.
Possible complications: Scratching may cause secondary infection.
When to consult a doctor: If the scalp is inflamed or infected, if the lymph glands in the neck are swollen, if headache and fever occur.
What the doctor may do: Treat any infection