What Is Head Lice?
Board-certified Austin, TX dermatologist, Dr. Renee Snyder, and her team of skilled physicians, treat both children and adults for head and body lice. Unfortunately, lice is a common condition among elementary school children, and while you can prevent it by taking certain measures, some children will get lice without knowing or of any fault of their own. Children love to share, and whether it is brushes, hair accessories, helmets, or sports gear, at any time, a certain exchange could also mean the spreading of lice. Head lice is a condition where a live adult 'louse' lays eggs in a child’s hair, and then feeds on the blood, and lives on the scalp. Some kids don't even know they have it, but if it progresses, symptoms can include itching, inflammation, and scalp irritation. Schools are very good about checking for lice annually, and if your child has lice, or if you believe he or she may have it, prompt treatment is needed. While lice is not life-threatening, it is very unpleasant.
Types of Head Lice
Lice is one of the most annoying skin conditions, especially for families. It can happen to anyone, regardless of lifestyle, and can literally infect the entire family as it is very contagious. It only takes 2 adult lice to create more lice and eventually a full infestation on your child’s head and in your home. The adult lice lay eggs called nits, and if not found or diagnosed and left untreated, an unpleasant, itchy experience usually occurs.
Lice is almost impossible to eliminate without treatment. This is due to the nits (the small egg sacs) that the adults lay near the scalp near the hair follicle. Special shampoos applied and then removed with a fine-tooth comb are necessary to kill and remove the infestation. However, nits can still reside on the scalp that have yet to form into lice and these will need to be manually removed using the fine-tooth comb so that they do not hatch and cause a new infestation.
Families always worry that a new outbreak will occur, and this is completely understandable. It's important to follow the strict protocol of treatment to avoid reinfestation. If the original treatment is unsuccessful and safeguards were not put into place, additional outbreaks can occur. The treatment for a second round of lice is the same as the first. However, because the medication and chemicals used are strong, our office usually recommends waiting a certain period of time before resuming the next round of treatment. Catching it early and treating it immediately is important. The longer lice lives on the head, symptoms can progress, which includes sores, disease, constant itching, infections, etc. This is most common at the nape of the neck, as well as behind the ears.
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How to Treat Head Lice
Lice must be treated, but even more, so does your home and belongings. This is probably the hardest part for most individuals because lice can infest the entire home. Everyone in the home should be treated as a safety measure, in addition, we recommend doing the following:
During treatment with the prescription medications and shampoos, it's crucial that you clean your home thoroughly:
- Wash all clothing, backpacks, bedding, pillows in really hot water
- Replace brushes, combs, and hair accessories
- Seal smaller toys and items your children play with in tight baggies for 2 – 3 weeks to ensure any living lice are killed
- Vacuum all carpeted areas and furniture
Plan Your Procedure
- 15 minutes
Schedule a Consult Today!
Head lice can be a troublesome condition and our dermatology staff is skilled to help treat and provide the correct protocol to get it under control fast. If your child was diagnosed with head lice, please call our office and consult with our team so we can help rid your child and/or family of this condition.