What are head lice?
Head lice are tiny insects that live on the skin covering the top of your head (scalp), may also be found in eyebrows and eyelashes. Nits are the empty egg cases attached to hair that head lice hatch from.Head lice are a common problem, particularly in school children aged 4-11. They're largely harmless, but can live in the hair for a long time if not treated and can be irritating and frustrating to deal with.
How can you get lice?
You can get head lice if:
- Head lice can't fly, jump or swim
- You come in close contact with a person who has lice.
- You touch the clothing or bedding of someone who has lice.
- You share hats, towels, brushes, or combs of someone who has lice.
- Only affect people and can't be caught from animals
What are the symptoms of head lice?
Symptoms of head lice include:
- Very bad itching of the scalp
- Small, red bumps on the scalp, neck, and shoulders (bumps may become crusty and ooze)
- Tiny white specks (eggs, or nits) on the bottom of each hair that are hard to get off
How to spot lice?
Head lice can be difficult to spot, even when the head is closely inspected. They're very small whitish or grey-brown insects that range from the size of a pinhead to the size of a sesame seed.The only way to be sure someone has head lice is to find a live louse by combing their hair with a special fine-toothed comb.
- Part the hair all the way down to the scalp in very small sections.
- Examine the scalp and hair for moving lice and eggs (nits).
- Look at the whole head in the same way.
- Look closely around the top of the neck and ears (the most common locations for eggs).
Both children and adults should be treated right away if any lice or eggs are found.
What is the treatment of head lice?
Treatments to get rid of head lice are available to buy from pharmacies, supermarkets and online. You don't usually need to see your GP.The main treatments are:
- lotions or sprays that kill head lice – these can be very effective, but some aren't suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or for children under two.
- removing head lice with a specially designed comb – this is suitable for everyone and relatively inexpensive, but needs to be repeated several times and can take a long time to do thoroughly.
Make sure you carefully follow the instructions that come with the treatment you choose. To use the medicine shampoo:
- Rinse and dry the hair.
- Apply the medicine to the hair and scalp.
- Wait 10 minutes, then rinse it off.
- Check for lice and nits again in 8 to 12 hours.
- If you find active lice, talk to your health care provider before doing another treatment.
You also need to get rid of the lice eggs (nits) to keep lice from coming back. To get rid of nits:
- You can use products that make the nits easier to remove. Some dishwashing detergents can help dissolve the "glue" that makes the nits stick to the hair shaft.
- Remove the eggs with a nit comb. Before doing this, rub olive oil in the hair or run the metal comb through beeswax. This helps make the nits easier to remove.
- Metal combs with very fine teeth are stronger and work better than plastic nit combs. These metal combs are easier to find in pet stores or on the Internet.
- Comb for nits again in 7 to 10 days.
When treating lice, wash all clothes and bed linens in hot water with detergent. This also helps prevent head lice from spreading to others during the short period when head lice can survive off the human body
How to prevent head lice?
It's very difficult to prevent head lice.
- You may want to consider regular detection combing – for example, on a weekly basis – if you're concerned about your children or yourself.
- Lotions and sprays don't prevent head lice and should only be used if a live louse has been found in your or your child's hair.
- Never share hair brushes, combs, hair pieces, hats, bedding, towels, or clothing with someone who has head lice.
- If your child has lice, be sure to check policies at schools and daycare. Many places do not allow infected children to be at school until the lice have been completely treated.
- Some schools may have policies to make sure the environment is clear of lice. Cleaning of carpets and other surfaces often helps prevent spread of all types of infections, including head lice.
Does my Insurance Policy cover head lice?
NO. According to CCHI unified policy terms and conditions, health insurance policies in Saudi Arabia doesn’t cover t treatment of head lice.Please Click Here to access the Unified CCHI Policy Wordings.
References:"Head Lice." Had Lice and Nits. N.p., 17 May 2016. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
"Head Lice." Head Lice. N.p., 15 Feb. 2016. Web. 16 Sept. 2016.
"Head Lice" Rules and Regulations. N.p., n.d. Web.