Did you know September is head lice prevention month? According to National Pediculosis Association (NPA) perhaps the best prevention is knowing the facts about where head lice comes from and how to treat it if you find yourself faced with the pests.
First, what are head lice? Head lice are human parasites and they need human blood to survive. This means you can’t get or spread head lice through contact with pets. Head lice can only survive for about 24 hours after leaving their host site. Head lice can be spread from direct contact from the head or hair of the infested person. It can also be spread through mutual use of hats, helmets, combs and hair brushes and may be spread on an infested pillow.
Second, how do you treat head lice? According to HeadLice.Org once you are faced with a case of head lice you need to remove the nits from the infested person. You need to manually remove the lice and nits from the hair and scalp using gloves and also using a special lice comb that will comb the nits out. This treatment needs to be done several times until you no longer see any lice or nits. Also, you should vacuum carpets and upholstered furniture thoroughly to remove any pests that may have come into contact with these through fallen hairs. Although the lice cannot live off their host for long periods of time, placing stuffed animals in sealed plastic bags for several weeks can be effective in removing any nits that may have come into contact with the stuffed animals.
There are over the counter, prescription and a variety of natural treatments you can use to clean the hair and scalp, however, according to HeadLice.Org combing may be the most effective way to get rid of the head lice.
Third, how do you prevent head lice? One thing to remember is that homes or schools don’t get head lice, people do. According to Barnes/Jewish Hospital Health Library in St. Louis any child can get head lice and states per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control 6 to 12 milllions elementary age kids in the U.S. get infested each year. When kids get together at school or during extra-curricular activities they tend to play in close contact. The best prevention for head lice is screening kids by checking their scalps often, not letting them share hats or helmets and reminding them their hair brushes are only for their use.