The louse is a tiny insect called a parasite. It lies in the hair and measures 2/4 mm.
This parasite is transmitted through personal contact or through the sharing of personal objects.
The lice live about 3 weeks, but they lay hundreds of eggs in their hair.
These insects do not fly or jump, they just crawl and go from hair to hair.
Children are particularly predisposed to the development and spread of lice.
The parasites are found in dirty and clean hair with the same probability.
It was once thought that lice were born only in dirty hair, they are actually born in any type of hair.
Lice and eggs (nits) are less easily seen in light hair (blond, white or light brown).
These insects are also found in black, discolored or dyed hair.
Curly and dry hair is less likely to have lice because this parasite has more difficulty grasping it in relation to oily and smooth hair.
Types of Human Lice
There are three main types of lice that cause similar symptoms, although they appear on different parts of the body:
- Head lice: found on the scalp, neck and ears
- Body lice first appears on the clothing or bed, then passes into the skin
- Pubic lice: also called “boring”, found on the skin and hair of the pubis.
The most common symptom of lice is itching .
The lice bites cause an allergic reaction that causes this sensation.
However it is also possible not to feel itchy, especially if it is a mild infestation.
In the first 6 weeks after the arrival of the lice, there may be no symptoms.
In addition to the intense itching, lice can cause other symptoms such as:
- A tickling sensation due to something going on the head, hair, or body
- Wounds that develop from scratches because of itching
- Irritability and difficulty sleeping
- Red lumps in the head, neck, shoulders, or pubic region
- Appearance of small white objects in hair. They are the lice eggs (nits) that appear in the hair and are difficult to pull out with the brush.
Usually the lice can be diagnosed at home. You only need:
- Heavy light
- Pente up
What to do: To know if you have lice, follow these 3 steps:
- Wet the affected child or adult’s hair if possible. Some people find it easier to see lice in wet hair. This also prevents lice from walking.
- Place the child or adult in bright light.
- Separate the hair by wicks. Starting from the scalp, comb the hair from root to tip, wick by wick.
What to look for: adult lice and nits (eggs).
It is more likely to see nits than adult lice because the nits get caught in the hair and do not move.
When combing your hair, check well behind the ear and neck. These are the most likely places to find eggs and lice.
If the person has adult lice or eggs, you can see:
- Adult lice: Light brown in color, they look like sesame seeds that often move quickly. They may be on the scalp or hair strands.
- Nits (eggs): yellow or brown in color, they look like small seeds and are glued to the hair near the scalp. If a lime breaks out it becomes clear.
Treatment to eliminate lice and prevent contagion
Combing wet hair
The method of combing wet hair with a special fine comb is a quick and non-chemical method.
The teeth of the comb should be spaced 0.2-0.3 mm apart.
With smaller spacing, less than 0.19 mm, the lice are crushed or trapped between the teeth of the comb and can not be seen.
No need to use lotions or sprays to comb wet hair. However, to be effective, this method should be applied regularly and carefully.
An immediate method to combat head lice is as follows:
- Before using a wide-tooth comb to untangle hair, wash hair with a regular hair shampoo and pass a conditioner.
- When the comb slides freely through the hair, check the comb. Pass the comb starting at the root, using a comb with teeth whose tip does not hurt the scalp.
You can also use an electric comb.
- Slide the comb toward the ends of the hair and check that there are lice on the comb.
- Remove lice by scrubbing or combing.
- Work methodically wick by wick until combing all the hair.
- Rinse to remove conditioner and repeat operation.
- Repeat the procedure on days 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15 to eliminate nits and young lice before they reach maturity.
The time taken to comb a child’s head depends on the type and length of hair.
For example, short and straight hair can be washed quickly and combed in a few minutes.
Longer curly hair takes more time to comb.
Lotions or sprays Over-the-
counter remedies in the form of lotions or sprays are an alternative method to eliminate lice.
However, to be effective they must be used correctly.
The pharmacist may recommend a lotion or a spray and can teach you how to use these products correctly.
A lotion or spray should be used only in the presence of live lice on the head (moving). Shampoos and paints are not effective and therefore are not recommended.
For each application, use a sufficient amount of lotion or spray to cover all the wig and scalp.
During application, follow the instructions on the lotion or spray pack. Depending on the product used, the standby time goes from 10 minutes to 8 hours.
The advice is to treat the hair and repeat the treatment after seven days. Some products also bring a comb to remove dead nits and lice.
Some products may be able to kill nits and lice, although this is not guaranteed.
From 3 to 5 days after using a product and even for the next 10-12 days, check for small and young lice.
At least two applications of lotion to kill lice are required during the hatching period because lotions do not always kill eggs.
If lice are immune to the product or if the problem persists, ask your pharmacist or doctor for help.
Always read the instructions for the product used for the treatment of lice, especially in the following cases:
- Young children (less than six months old)
- Pregnant women
- People with allergies or asthma .
Before using the product, consult a healthcare professional.
It is recommended for pregnant women to comb their hair wet or apply the lotion with 4% dimethicone, which was approved for use during pregnancy and lactation.
Curly and rasta
hair Curly and rasta hair (typical for Africans) can make it difficult to treat a lice infestation.
Cutting or shaving the child’s hair is not a suitable treatment, especially if it is a girl.
Treat curly hair as smooth. Comb the small wicks with a lice comb and / or use a lotion or spray.
Natural Remedies to Get Rid of Lice
Almost all natural methods serve to stifle lice.
Using an effective home remedy is better than putting chemicals on the child’s head.
Here are some of the “stifling” or “suffocating” natural treatments that work well as long as the directions are followed.
Some experts believe that combing hair is the most important part. “Stifling” treatments only stun lice that are slower and easier to catch on the comb.
Pass oil or almond oil on the hair (Vaseline and mayonnaise are not recommended because they are oily and both can be difficult to remove).
There are those who prefer to put the oil or oil in the comb, rather than in the hair.
Try both methods to see which works best.
Separate the hair into small strands using a hair clip.
Work under a good light so you can see what you are doing.
Frequently comb the comb under hot water.
After combing the child’s hair, wash with shampoo for normal hair, rinse and repeat the operation.
It is necessary to wash all used towels and clean the comb.
You can soak the comb in a 10% bleach solution for 30 minutes and then rinse very well.
Alternatively, you can soak the comb in the vinegar for 30 minutes or boil the comb for 10 minutes.
Follow this procedure every day for a week.
Then, in the next two weeks, comb the child’s hair every night to make sure the lice did not come back.
In order of greatest effectiveness, the essential oils you can use are:
- Tea tree oil
- Lavender oil
- Neem Oil
- Clove oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Aniseed oil
- Cinnamon leaf oil
- Red thyme oil
- Peppermint oil
- Nutmeg oil.
Mix 60 grams of olive oil with 15 to 20 drops of essential oil. Apply the mixture to the scalp using cotton balls. Let this mixture on the scalp act overnight (at least 12 hours).
In addition to the methods mentioned above, there are other traditional remedies that you can use at home to do away with a lice infestation.
Massage the scalp with a mixture of tea tree oil and olive oil and after a short time wash the hair with a neutral shampoo.
Pass onion juice into the root of the hair using your fingertips.
Wait about 3-4 hours and let the pungent scent eliminate the lice.
Wash hair thoroughly to remove pungent odor.
For best results, use this homemade method for 3-4 days to eliminate the lice.
Make a mixture of vinegar (2 teaspoons) and water (6 tablespoons) and apply this mixture on the scalp before bed.
Cover your head with a cotton cloth and wash your hair the next morning.
Make a garlic paste with lemon juice .
Apply on the scalp and let it act all night.
The next morning wash your hair with warm water and neutral shampoo.
To kill lice, acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) can also be used , but it can have toxic effects on children and babies, as well as harm the skin and hair.