Does Your Child Have Headlice

By Jennifer King

Do you suspect your child has head lice? Have you noticed your child scratching his head often? Or have you heard of an outbreak of head louse at his school? It's possible to find out if your son or daughter has head louse by implementing some simple evaluation at home.

The simplest way to identify head lice is through identifying their eggs in the hair. Lice eggs are called nits. Head lice will lay these eggs on the hair shaft close to the scalp. This is why a head examination requires looking at the scalp. Before the baby lice hatch, nits look tan, brown, or yellow. Once the nit has hatched, the shell will stay attached to the hair shaft. This is the easiest thing to see, as it is whitish, looking somewhat like dandruff. The main difference between head lice eggs and dandruff is dandruff will easily shake off of the hair shaft, while lice eggs are fused to the shaft.

Sometimes you will be able to notice adult head louse on your child's hair, particularly if your child's hair is short. These little beasties are small, the same size as a sesame seed from your hamburger bun, and they tend to possess the same coloring as your child's hair. A lot of parents grasp their little ones are infected the moment they see the adult lice moving through their kid's hair.

Head scratching is, of course, another sign of a head lice infestation. But, not every child will find head lice to be itchy. Also, scratching their head may be a sign of other troubles, such as eczema or dandruff. The itching from lice is usually likened to a tickle, or the feeling of something moving about on the scalp.

Children who have sensitive scalps, and spend a lot of time scratching because of the nits will regularly get a rash on their scalp. Head lice rash looks like red bumps at the base of the hair shaft. It may infrequently develop into a more extreme infection that needs antibiotics.

If you have a suspision your child might have head lice, part his hair and observe the base of the hair shaft for the nits. Pay particular attention to the areas of hair around the neck and ears. If you find it a struggle to focus up close, you might want to try a magnifying glass. Be sure to do the lice checking in bright light. If you can't see anything, but the itching continues, it is time for a trip to the doctor. On the other hand, if there is persistent scratching, and you have heard of an outbreak at school or day care, you possibly can be certain that the reason is head lice.

To treat head lice you can purchase a medicated shampoo that can eliminate the lice. Make sure you follow the instructions to the letter, because improper use won' eliminate all of the lice. You will also want to comb through the hair using a fine tooth comb to remove any nits that are not eliminated by the shampoo.

When you have cured your child, wash any clothes that are lying around, as lice have the ability to live up to three days out of the hair if they are attached to clothing. Also, boil anything that comes in contact with an infected head, including combs, brushes and bows. It is particularly crucial to wash any bedding. Vacuum all furniture and floors. Then watch carefully for signs of any re-occurrence. If it occurs, start the process again. It can be hard work, but you can get rid of head lice with the proper steps.

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