Head lice are parasites that are easy to differentiate from dandruff. And no, they do not like dandruff; they love your blood and so, they feed on it. They do not flourish if the dandruff is co-existing on the scalp. Generally, dandruff does not curb the head lice’s growth.
Head lice, medically known as Pediculus humanus capitis, affects millions of people. In the US, an estimated 6 to 12 million children between 3 to 11 years get head lice.
What are the signs and symptoms of head lice?
You suspect a head lice infestation when you feel something crawling on your scalp and experience intense itching without even having dandruff. Other signs and symptoms of head lice include:
- Sighting bugs on the scalp (look like light-brown sesame seeds)
- Finding lice eggs or nits (the eggs are yellow, brown, and about the size of a pinhead)
Some people may also get:
- Swelling in the neck (swollen lymph nodes)
- Pink eye (a common eye infection)
Who gets head lice?
Anyone can get head lice but people at greater risk include
- Children in preschool and elementary school. Children can spread the lice to their classmates, parents, and others in their households.
- Girls seem more likely than boys to get head lice. Girls tend to have more frequent head-to-head contact than boys do.
How do you get lice?
How do you get rid of lice fast?
Lice cannot go away on their own. Aggressive treatment is needed to eradicate them, which takes around 4 to 6 weeks. You cannot get rid of lice as fast as dandruff.
There are several over the counter products to get rid of head lice and their nits. Here are a few steps you should follow until you get rid of the lice:
- Step 1: Use a lice shampoo. This usually involves lathering the lice shampoo into the hair and leaving the shampoo on for a few minutes before rinsing it off under a shower. This can be done twice or thrice a week.
- Step 2. Use a lice comb: The lice comb usually comes with the shampoo. The closely arranged short teeth of the lice comb make it easier to remove the lice while combing from the hair root to the hair tip. This should always be done once every day till you see all your hair free from the lice and its eggs.
If all this seems troublesome, another treatment option is to shave the scalp and go bald.
Alternatively, you can visit a dermatologist who will most likely give you any of the following prescription medicines:
- Benzyl alcohol solution
- Ivermectin lotion
- Malathion lotion
- Spinoside suspension
- Lindane shampoo
Whether you are self-treating yourself or getting treated by a dermatologist, make sure you wash your clothes, towels, or bed-sheets in hot water.
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