Every parent dreads the word LICE. We can help!
Lately we’ve had lots of phone calls and visits with questions about lice! Lice seems to be at an all time high right now and everyday we are hearing about numerous schools and daycares in our area that are dealing with outbreaks.
As parents we know how inconvenient it is to think about dealing with lice with your children. We also know that lice is often very hard to spot and that there is plenty of confusion regarding what to look for.
If you have any questions, we at Pigtails & Crewcuts are happy to help. We are also offering free lice checks to our clients. If you’re not sure if what you’re seeing is lice, we will be happy to check for you.
And in the event that you do have a lice issue, we also carry everything you need to treat the infestation and to defend against any future lice outbreaks. Come on in and browse our selection of lice preventative shampoos, conditioners, hairsprays, and gels! We even have products that are organic and made especially for children! No harsh chemicals here!
Head lice have three forms: the egg (also called a nit), the nymph, and the adult.
Egg/Nit: Nits are lice eggs laid by the adult female head louse at the base of the hair shaft nearest the scalp. Nits are firmly attached to the hair shaft and are oval-shaped and very small (about the size of a knot in thread) and hard to see. Nits often appear yellow or white although live nits sometimes appear to be the same color as the hair of the infested person. Nits are often confused with dandruff, scabs, or hair spray droplets. Head lice nits usually take about 8-9 days to hatch. Eggs that are likely to hatch are usually located no more than ¼ inch (or 1 centimeter) from the base of the hair shaft.
Nymph: A nymph is an immature louse that hatches from the nit. A nymph looks like an adult head louse, but is smaller. To live, a nymph must feed on blood. Nymphs mature into adults about 9-12 days after hatching from the nit.
Adult: The fully grown and developed adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, has six legs, and is tan to grayish-white in color. Adult head lice may look darker in persons with dark hair than in persons with light hair. To survive, adult head lice must feed on blood. An adult head louse can live about 30 days on a person’s head but will die within one or two days if it falls off a person. Adult female head lice are usually larger than males and can lay about six eggs each day.
- Tickling feeling of something moving in the hair.
- Itching, caused by an allergic reaction to the bites.
- Sores on the head caused by scratching. These sores can sometimes become infected.
How is head lice diagnosed?
An infestation is diagnosed by looking closely through the hair and scalp for nits, nymphs, or adults. They can usually be found behind the ears, back of neck and part lines. It can be difficult to find a live bug. There are usually a few of them and they can move quickly. If crawling lice are not seen, finding nits within a 1/4 inch of the scalp strongly suggests that a person is infested and should be treated. If you only find nits more than 1/4 inch from the scalp (and don’t see a nymph or adult louse), the infestation is probably an old one. If you are not sure if a person has head lice, the diagnosis should be made by your health care provider, school nurse, or a professional from the local health department.
- Use a lice preventative product in your child’s hair daily.
- Avoid head to head contact at school and home.
- Do not share clothing, hats, scarves, sports uniforms and helmets, coats and hair accessories
- Do not share combs and brushes or towels
- Do not lie in beds, on couches or car seats that have recently been in contact with an infested person
Lice are usually spread thru head to head contact and less frequently by lice that crawl. Preschool and elementary-age children, 3-11, and their families are infested most often. Girls get head lice more often than boys. In the United States, African-Americans rarely get head lice. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.
- Do not worry about furniture sprays, they are useless. Vacuuming the areas such as floors, carpets, bedrooms, and couches is sufficient. Don’t forget to vacuum car seats!
- Wash the bedding each morning in hot water. Dry on high heat for at least 20 minutes.
- Store all stuffed animals, large comforters, etc. in a sealed plastic bag for 2 weeks.
- Soak combs and brushes in Lysol or rubbing alcohol for at least 1 hour.