Lice are small and wingless parasitic insects that suck blood from the scalp, living between the hairs. Head lice are a common problem which is especially found in school children of 4-11 years. It is not harmful but can stay in the hair for a long time. If left untreated, then it becomes very difficult to deal with them. Lice are contagious and spread rapidly from one to another. Sometimes it is very difficult to get rid of them but lice are not dangerous. Itching and infection can occur due to their bite or sucking blood on the skin of children's scalp but it does not cause any disease.
Lice parasites are born in the human body. It is usually found only in the hair. Their body is long and wingless and has an antenna with four parts. The head is small and the mouth is piercing. It pierces the skin with its mouth and drinks blood. When it drinks blood, it starts itching. While piercing the body, it releases non-conscious matter (sensation void) due to which there is no pain when it bites. This mostly happens due to the lack of cleanliness in people with long hair. The lifespan of an adult louse is 30 days on the nutritious skin. The female louse lays about 90 eggs and within 7-10 days more lice hatch from the eggs and in the next 10 days, it turns into an adult louse. Similarly, this process continues leading to the multiplication of lice.
Symptoms of Head lice
Itching of the scalp is considered a common symptom of lice. However, only itching in the head is not seen to be associated with this problem. Apart from this, itching in the neck and ears is also a common symptom. The reaction of the scalp with the saliva of the lice causes allergic reactions and itching. When a person gets the infection, they may not experience itching for the first two to six weeks. Sometimes it takes a few weeks for the lice to reach the scalp and cause itching.
Having louse eggs in the hair-
Lice eggs get stuck in sticky hair. It is very difficult to see new louse eggs because it's too small. These eggs are found around the ears and in the hairline of the neck. It is easy to see the empty lice eggs because they are light in colour and are easily visible on the scalp.
Problems caused by running lice-
People often feel a lot of trouble due to their walking or crawling on the hair or head.
Causes of Hair lice
Lice are spread through direct contact. It does not come by jumping or flying from one head to another. Due to direct or indirect contact with the head of the person suffering from the problem of lice, it gets in the head. Lice survive for short periods in clothing, hats and hairbrushes but the risk of infection from objects is high. The problem of lice is seen more in girls than in boys and in women than in men. Lice spread in a person's hair in many ways. The following are the causes of hair lice-
- Coming into contact with someone who has already had lice (e.g personal contact is common at school or sporting activities, at home or while camping).
- Wearing clothing of a person with lice such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms or hair ribbons.
- Using the comb, brush or towel of a person with lice.
- Using the same bedding, sofa, pillow, carpet, or coming into contact with lice animals.
- Young children also develop this problem when they come into contact with their schoolmates (aged 3-11 years) or a family member.
- The elders of a house where there are children with lice also remain at risk of getting lice.
Home remedies to get rid of Head lice
Combing louse in wet hair-
On wet hair, lice can be easily removed by moving the hair from top to bottom with a low wide-toothed comb. The hair should be completely wet in this process, comb the entire hair at least twice. Repeat this method every two or three days. By doing this, all the head lice will be removed within about two weeks.
Teatree oil and fennel oil are beneficial in removing louse-
Lice are also destroyed by the use of oils made from natural plants, for example, tea tree oil or fennel oil. Apply it to the hair and leave it for 7-8 hours and wash and comb the hair.
Neem is beneficial in removing louse-
Make a paste of neem leaves and apply it to the hair and wash it after drying. This kills the lice.
Lemon and ginger paste is effective in removing lice-
Mix one teaspoon of ginger paste in two teaspoons of lemon juice and leave it on your scalp for 20 minutes. Wash off with cold water when it dries. Doing this process twice a week proves to be effective.
Coconut oil and apple cider vinegar are effective in removing lice-
Mix coconut oil and apple cider vinegar and apply it to the hair. Wash and comb the hair after a few hours. Coconut oil is good for hair but as a remedy to kill lice, adding apple vinegar to this oil and applying it on the hair removes the lice easily.
Garlic and lemon paste beneficial in removing louse-
Apply lemon juice mixed with garlic paste on the hair and wash the hair after an hour. By doing this, the louse easily gets killed because garlic is used as a medicine for lice.
Treatment for Head lice
- Medicines applied to the scalp are used to remove or eliminate head lice. The most common ways to treat lice are by using medicated creams, lotions or shampoos due to which the lice easily die.
- Most lice eggs live on your clothes. Therefore, to remove them, the clothes worn should be cleaned by soaking them in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes. This method kills the big lice and also kills their eggs. Lice in the body are able to live only in the place where they get nutrition. At the same time, it goes away by cleaning the body and washing clothes regularly.
- Children going to school or daycare centres should be explained not to make head to head contact with each other so that the yoke does not spread from one to the other.
- Itching may persist even after all the head lice are gone. It is an allergic reaction to their bite. The use of cortisone cream or calamine lotion is recommended to overcome this.
When to go to the doctor?
There is no need to visit a doctor if there are lice, but personal hygiene should be taken care of. Along with this, home remedies, medicated oils, shampoos and lifestyle changes can get rid of lice.