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Friday, July 10, 2009

Head Lice

Summertime is also vacation time. Many are looking forward or maybe already are taking an oh so needed break from the daily routine. These breaks are usually spent in another environment, whether that is another city, state or country. It occurs more often then you would expect, but you may bring home a little more then just pictures and fond memories: head lice.

These small, brown critters actually have no preference for clean or dirty hair, as long as there is hair available in which they can hide and attach their eggs to. Those eggs are called nits and look like tiny white pockets and are stuck to a strand of hair very close to the scalp. Yeah, that is where the term 'nit-picking' comes from.

The lice feed on human blood and their bite often causes severe itching. They can even prevent the blood from clotting. Upon inspection, you can see the grown lice on the scalp or close to the hairline in the neck and behind the ears. They don't seem to transmit any diseases; they are just pesky little critters that can drive you or your children nuts.

When you come back from vacation with some of these unwanted 'pets', you can remove them with a nit comb. You will have to be persistent for about 14 days, combing the hair. This will ensure that you not only remove the grown lice, but also the offspring which will be hatching during that time. Over the counter remedies are available at any drugstore as well. It is possible that a scalp infection results from lice. In that case it is best to consult a doctor.

Make sure to wash all the apparel and bedding on a high temperature. This will kill any lice hiding in the folds and seams of clothing and bedding. Don't share combs and try to prevent close contact: this is another form of how lice are being spread.

The reason for this caution is that there usually is an outbreak of head lice right after summer vacation. You may not bring it home, but someone else may and there is no better place for these bugs to spread then schools and daycare centers. Don't be embarrassed when you find out you are the in over your head with those critters, it can happen to anyone.

In case this information leaves you scratching your head: make sure it is not head lice!



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