By jo gott
Board Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
According to Healthline, September is the national lice prevention month. This is probably due to school-age children joining this month, and lice can be passed from one child to another when they are in close contact.
Lice are small insects that can live on hair and skin. The head louse is grayish white and is only 2-3 millimeters long (about the size of a sesame seed).
The lifespan of the female louse is approximately one month. During this time, you can lay eggs, called nits, which then become new lice. The female can produce between 7 and 10 nits per day and firmly attach them to the region of the hair shaft near the scalp or body.
As mentioned earlier, lice can live in the hair and scalp of the head, which is very common. More rare is that body lice live on clothes. A third location for lice is pubic hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, armpits and other body hair.
A common question is: "Do lice fly?" The answer is no. Lice do not fly or jump. They are transmitted by close contact from person to person. You can also get lice by sharing items such as combs and hats.
Another common question: How do you know if someone has lice? Most people experience severe itching in the part of the body where the lice are. Upon closer inspection (usually with the help of another person), small lice or nits can be seen.
You can get rid of lice without visiting a health professional. You can:
Use a special fine tooth comb to carefully comb your hair lice, and
Use an over-the-counter cream or lotion (Nix / Permethrin) on your hair that kills lice. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label.
You may hear about other treatments for lice that involve products such as olive oil or mayonnaise. Most professionals do not recommend these "natural" treatments.
You will also have to get rid of lice and kill them in your household items. To do this, you can wash your clothes, bedding and towels in hot water and dry them in the warmest place. Vacuum your carpets and furniture. Put things that you cannot wash in a sealed plastic bag for two weeks. During the summer, sitting these items in a hot car in Arizona will kill the nits / lice.
Hopefully this article has helped you understand the basics of lice because, most likely, you know someone who is treating them, hopefully not you!