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Head lice do not jump, they do not fly, they do not transmit diseases and they are spread through direct contact between heads and through sharing objects such as hats and combs. First of all, it is very important to demystify the problem of lice and know the 10 basic rules to combat, treat and prevent the appearance of head lice in children.
1- What are and discomforts that lice cause
Lice are parasites that feed on human blood and need warmth and moisture to live. They are transmitted by direct contact between heads as well as by sharing objects such as combs and hats. Lice cause itchy heads in children due to the saliva they inject when they bite to feed on human blood. The louse is camouflaged, that is, it has the ability to adopt the tone of the hair to go unnoticed. Even so, they are still visible to the human eye.
2- The infestation and spread of lice
1 in 4 school-age children get head lice. Lice are more infectious to children, between 3 and 10 years old, because at these ages there is more physical contact. However, no one is safe from contracting lice, so its prevention is more than necessary. It is important to remember that lice occur most often on long hairs. For this reason we must do everything possible so that children wear their hair short or tied up.
3- It can prevent children from contracting lice
Children can be prevented from contracting lice both at home and at school:
- Checking the children's heads carefully if you notice that there is itching and in times of greatest incidence.
- Alerting parents when there are cases of lice at school
- Notifying the school if the child has lice
- Guiding children about the ways of contagion
- Children should always use their towel, comb and brushes individually, not share them with anyone and keep them separate from other products both at home and at school.
4- How to get rid of lice
When finding lice on the child's head, the first thing to do is go to the pharmacy to purchase a lice treatment and apply it following the instructions in its leaflet. The most widely used and safest pediculicides are pyrethrins (such as phenothrin). After applying it to the child's hair, it is necessary to remove the dead lice and then, with the help of a finder, the nits and lice eggs, strand by strand. Repeat the treatment as many times as indicated on the product leaflet. We remind you that a louse can lay up to 150 eggs in the 5 days of its reproductive stage. This is an average of 30 a day, so timely treatment is the best way to prevent the problem from becoming more important.
5- Prevention of lice with repellants
When in the environment there is a danger of contagion or re-infestation of lice, it will be verified that there is no contagion in the children's hair. Afterwards, a lice repellent, which can also be purchased at the pharmacy, will be sprayed on clean and dry hair, applying a sufficient quantity to cover the entire surface to be treated.
6- To avoid re-infestation of lice
To prevent lice from re-infecting children's heads, it is necessary that, when the child contracts them for the first time, all the objects that he has used such as combs, brushes, hats, ribbons, clothes, pillows, cushions, are checked. etc. Clothes and sheets should be washed (over 50 degrees). All your stuffed animals and toys should be kept in a hermetically sealed bag for two weeks. At this time, lice do not survive.
7- Lice are not related to poor hygiene
There are many parents who ignore and hide, out of shame, that their child has lice. They think that lice are infested by the lack of hygiene of children, which is totally uncertain. Lice are proven to have a preference for clean hair, where it is easier to lay their eggs. Lice like cleanliness. They feel more comfortable in a clean environment where they can feed 'without great obstacles'. So having lice is not a matter of poor hygiene as is often mistakenly thought.
8- Home remedies against lice
There are an infinity of more or less safe home methods such as vinegar, herbs and oils, to combat lice. Some of them, for example diluted vinegar, applied after washing children's hair, has managed in the laboratory to facilitate the removal of the eggs, but not to remove them. However, none of these substances have proven themselves effective. In addition, it is important not to use these methods before the application of pediculicides to avoid losing their effectiveness.
9- Lice are not a risk to the health of children
If you notice that your child has lice, it is important that you stay calm because, although they can be annoying and worrisome, lice do not transmit disease and can be eliminated through effective treatments.
Of the traditional remedies, the only one that has been shown to be effective in clinical trials is the mechanical removal of nits and lice with a finder (special fine-toothed comb). Its action by itself is limited, but in association with a pediculicide, it is highly effective. In addition, its routine use allows the family member to carry out a post-treatment control, detecting early cases of misapplied treatments or reinfestations.
10- Social problems that lice can cause in children
The child with lice should not be isolated. This is a practice that marginalizes the child, that can affect their self-esteem and that does not make sense because once the presence of lice is detected on their head, there are effective treatments to combat them. The only thing that must be done is to guide the child to avoid physical contact with other children, notify the school, monitor and treat the problem.
You can read more articles similar to Decalogue against children's lice, in the category of Lice and nits on site.