Why does head lice appear to be on the rise these days? My daughters have always been instructed to take precautions and not share brushes, but have contracted head lice three times in the past year!
Head lice treatments
Head lice infestation in child care and school-age children is common in the U.S. and elsewhere. Indeed, if you talk with any parent of a child 2-15 years of age or so, you will hear the lice lament. (I too, have been there). Many experts believe that easy availability and perhaps overuse of pediculocides (the medications that kill lice) has made head lice increasingly resistant to treatment. Spread occurs by direct contact with the hair of infected persons and possibly by contact with their personal items, such as hats, combs and brushes.
Head lice do not imply unclean living conditions, unlike body lice, which are typically associated with poor hygiene. Itching is the most common symptom, and nits (lice eggs) – which adhere to individual hairs like glue and then hatch into the next generation of lice – can be seen, especially behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. Live lice may be seen too: They are tiny dark spots that move quickly.
Shampoo containing permethrin is the safest and most effective way to kill lice and is available over the counter. The manual removal of nits with a nit comb is key to complete eradication, however. You can find current information about treatment and can order the most effective nit removal comb, the Licemeister, at the National Pediculosis Association Web site.