National Pediculosis (Head Lice) Month
Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle
Have you had the problem of head lice in your household?
Although head lice are a very common health problem shared by families with young school children, head lice are not a good experience to remember.
- Did you have to live through days or weeks of cleaning and head lice treatment?
- Did your child have to miss a lot of school?
- Did the head lice spread to other family members and friends?
Head Lice can be a BIG headache for everyone in the family, but The NPA (National Pediculosis Association) has a great website (headlice.org), with lots of educational materials, to answer your questions and help you through this frustrating process.
Children are most susceptible to head lice because of their close nature of play. Lice move from head to head during close play or hugging. They can also be passed by sharing a brush or a sweater. Head lice are very dependent on their host for warmth and food, so they do not live off of the host for very long. They do not harbor in rugs or grass to find a host. An adult will live 1-2 days without a host, and an egg will die off of the scalp almost immediately, according to the University of Arizona Urban Integrated Pest Management PDF.
The easiest way to see if a child has head lice is by looking for the eggs. The adults will crawl away from the spot of investigation, but the eggs will be stuck to the hair shaft. As the hair grows, the egg will still be attached to the hair shaft. An adult can see the length of time of the infestation by seeing if the eggs are separated from the scalp slightly. The eggs are also called nits.
Lindane (Kwell) has been the pesticide used to treat head lice in the recent past, because of its immediate effectiveness in getting rid of adults and nits. Now, there is a new movement to take Kwell off the market. Ed Markey, a representative from Massachusetts, states in his appeal that “the cure is worse than the disease.” The NPA, in fact, alerts the medical community to discontinue use if the Lindane is not immediately successful. In other words, they advise people not to use the product more than once. According to Skin Therapy Letter, a collection of dermatology documents, Lindane can cause nausea, vomiting, and neurological stimulation, which can not be good for children. The National Pediculosis Association suggests INSTEAD of ANY use of Lindane, that parents should choose the Lice Meister Comb. This comb uses no pesticides. It gives the parent or caregiver a tool to manually remove all lice and nits without chemical treatment.