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Spread the love - but not the head lice ...


ELFIES - love them or hate them, everyone's taking pictures of themselves - including your children.

SBut now one pharmacist is warning that the fun global craze could be spreading head lice.

Giulia Criscuolo said the fact that children often sit close together, sometimes touching heads when taking group selfies, could be helping the spread of the pests.

Head lice are a common problem, particularly in school children aged four to 11 years, and one in three children in the UK may get head lice at some point during the year.

But how do you know if your child has head lice? Head lice are tiny insects that live in human hair and are particularly common in children. They can be white to a grey-brown colour and are smaller than the size of a pinhead when first hatched. When fully grown, they are about the size of a sesame seed. They can't fly, jump or swim and are spread by head-to-head contact, climbing from the hair of an infected person to the hair of someone else.

Nits are the empty eggshells which remain glued in place after a baby louse has hatched. Nits are white and become more noticeable as the hair grows and carries them away from the scalp where a female head louse would have originally laid them.

A head lice infestation isn't the result of dirty hair or poor hygiene. All types of hair can be affected, regardless of its length and condition. Head lice only affect humans and can't be passed on to animals or be caught from them.

If you notice your child itching their scalp, they could have head lice. The itching is caused by an allergy to the lice. However, not everyone is allergic to head lice, so you or your child may not notice a head lice infestation. Even if if E someone with head lice is allergic to them, itching can take up to three months to develop.

In some cases, a rash may appear on the back of the neck. This is caused by a reaction to lice droppings.

Head lice can be difficult to see, even when the head is closely inspected. Unhatched eggs or nits alone aren't enough to diagnose an active head lice infestation. This is because it can be difficult to distinguish between eggs and nits that are dead or alive. Nits also usually remain glued to hairs long after successful treatment. To confirm an active head lice infestation, a louse must be found through a reliable, accurate method, such as detection combing.

distinguish between Detection combing is the best way of finding head lice. It involves using a special finetoothed head lice comb with a tooth spacing of 0.2-0.3mm to comb through the hair.

The comb can trap even the smallest lice. It works better on wet hair but can also be used on dry hair.

Head lice can usually be effectively treated with lotions or sprays designed to kill head lice, or by wet combing, using a specially designed head lice comb. Wet combing can be used without lotions or sprays, but it needs to be done regularly and can take a long time to do thoroughly.

Lotions or sprays can be used as an alternative. However, to be totally effective, they need to be applied correctly and thoroughly. Your pharmacist will be able to recommend an over-the-counter lotion or spray and give you advice about how to use it correctly.

For more information about head lice and .treating them, visit the NHS Choices website.


The seflie craze, | | inset, above, has seen more children getting head lice, like this girl being examined at a clinic (picture posed by model)
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 4, 2015
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