Head Lice – Dr. Acky Friedman
Lice are a contagious phenomenon that causes discomfort, mostly in children. The contamination is mostly via head to head contact and hair to hair. Contamination by clothing, combs, bed linens, towels, pool water or pets is rare.
Lice eggs are usually found on hair near the scalp and after about 10 days, the lice hatch out of the egg. The remains of the eggs stay close to the hair and with the hair’s growth, they get further from the scalp. The egg shape and the bright-brown color reveal the eggs. From the moment they hatch, the lice feed on the human head’s blood, by pricking the scalp skin 4-5 times a day. The lice are between 1-3 mm long, and they go to the area of the injury that they create, spreading a chemical that prevents the coagulation of blood and allows them to return to the same place over and over again. This chemical is what creates skin irritation of the scalp and the itching that starts to bother the infected patient around 8 weeks after infection.
The most effective product for a treatment is a using a tight toothed comb. It should be used on wet hair and its purpose is to remove the eggs. I recommend checking the comb teeth after each brush of a child’s hair, in order to find eggs on them.
There are a few factors that benefit the patient.
Lice don’t move to another head until up to a week after hatching and do not lay eggs until 10 days later. The eggs hatch about a week after being laid. These time periods help the patient and enable them to get rid of the lice by combing the hair with that comb every day for a number of days. The use of lice killers is efficient but it is important to maintain constant, consistent and repetitious therapy. It is important to take care of all populations (in kindergarten or school) since it takes even one child that wasn’t treated in order to infect the entire population again – even if they had a perfect treatment.
A few facts about treating lice:
1. Crude oil treatment (like was used in the past) – is prohibited.
2. Lice don’t jump and don’t fly.
3. Colored hair may be infected by lice just like any other hair.
4. A single treatment is not enough to solve the problem.
5. Chemical products do not destroy 100% of lice.
6. Rosemary oil does not prevent contamination but can make it harder.
7. Girls are more likely to have a lice infestation than boys.