Lice and nit combing

Let's talk about lice

The common cold and the flu are easily spread between school children, but parents often forget about another “bug” that spreads through close personal contact: lice.

Head lice are tiny insects that live on the scalp. They are about the size of a sesame seed and typically grayish-white in color. They attach themselves to the skin on the scalp and lay eggs (a.k.a. nits) in the hair.

Lice can live on the scalp for up to 30 days and their eggs can live up to two weeks.

Head-to-head contact is the easiest way for lice to spread, but sharing combs or hats, and touching clothes or bedding of a person with lice are also ways to spread them.

Symptoms

  • Severe itching of the scalp.
  • Small, red bumps on the scalp, neck or shoulders (may become crusty or ooze).
  • Tiny white specks at the bottom of each hair follicle that are difficult to remove.

Treatment

Usually, lice can be treated at home with a specifically formulated shampoo.

Wet combing is also another option. It’s important to note that wet combing should be repeated once a week for at least three weeks to ensure all lice and nits are removed and requires you comb through entire scalp and hair fastidiously.

It is also a good idea to clean clothing, bedding and brushes after lice is found.

If shampoos or wet combing do not work, consult your doctor to discuss stronger, prescribed options.