Lice are parasites that live by infesting humans and feeding on their blood. There are several types of lice. They are not usually dangerous, but they can cause a large amount of annoyance and irritation. They are very contagious and should be treated so as to avoid spreading the parasite. Symptoms include:
Head lice - intense itching on the scalp, mainly behind the ears and at the nape of the neck
Body lice - unexplained scratch marks on the body, eczema, hives and red pimples.
Pubic lice - continuous itching around the pubic area.
Head lice or nits are extremely contagious and usually effect school children, as they can easily jump from child to child. Lice are approximately the size of a sesame seed and can be seen quite easily. However, their eggs are quite difficult to see.
Body lice and head lice are nearly identical in appearance but are more difficult to find. They occur less regularly than head lice but they need to feed often. Their ideal environment is on a person who does not change clothes very often, when they are not feeding they tend to hide in bedding and clothing.
Pubic lice or crab lice are crab like insects that cling to the pubic hair, they are transmitted mostly by close personal or sexual contact.
Even though it is commonly believed that lice are related to poor hygiene, except in the case of body lice, lice will jump from one host to the other no matter how clean the person is. They thrive in densely populated areas.
You should notify your school authorities if you suspect your child has head lice, this is done so major outbreaks of this condition can be prevented.
When to seek further professional advice
If you are unable to get rid of the lice or if scratching has led to an infection.
There are several alternative treatments which can be used to make it easier to get rid of lice. An aromatherapeutic remedy for the treatment of head lice is to wash the hair and rinse it slowly with six drops each of essential oils of red thyme and rosemary mixed in a litre of warm water. You can substitute this mixture with twelve drops of essential oil of lavender. Dry your hair naturally, then comb it through with a fine-toothed comb. For prevention, soak the comb in water with 10 drops of essential oil of red thyme, and comb hair thoroughly.
Your doctor will advise that you try remove the lice from your environment, this can take time as they can also be found in your bedding and clothes. There are treatments available at your pharmacy that will get rid of head lice, they are usually in the form of a shampoo. It is advisable that people infected with lice, should stay away from others to avoid spreading the lice. Continually washing and sterilizing all your towels, bedding and clothes will help get rid of them.
Body lice can be treated by washing your entire body with soap and water, if this does not prove effective, you might have to use an insecticidal preparation which will usually kill all the lice. As with head lice all your bedding, clothes etc should be washed. Pubic lice can be treated with over the counter preparations, bedding etc should also be washed. You should also let any partners know about the lice so that the necessary treatments and precautions can be taken.
The information contained in this Site/Service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or taken for medical diagnosis or treatment