When your child is at the age where he or she is ready to go to school, that’s a huge moment of pride and love, combined with a twinge of fear. Will my child be okay? Will my child make friends? Those are the fears a mom and dad face as their kid packs a backpack for the first time and heads off to school. Of course, there is another fear lurking around the corners of the classroom - lice!
In the United States, between 6 to 12 million children every year get lice, and it is most common with children between 3 and 11 years of age.When your child just won’t stop scratching his or her head, or your school sends home a notice that lice have been found in the classroom, panic sets in. Don’t fear! We’re here to break down the facts about head lice and explain the best strategies to follow for head lice treatment, prevention, and eradication.
Head Lice: The Basics
Head lice are wingless insects that are about the size of a sesame seed. At our clinic, we have seen lice that have grown to be slightly larger. So be on the look out! Lice feed on blood drawn through the human scalp. Since they don’t have wings, they cannot fly. They also don’t have hind legs; they have six legs, each with a tiny claw. Thus, lice are incapable of jumping. Disregard the myths circulating out there; lice are restricted to merely crawling. But they do crawl fast!
Another lice myth to bust is that head lice prefer a specific hair type or a particular level of cleanliness. Head lice do not have a preference of what kind of hair they invade and make a habitat in. They can exist in all types of hair, whether it's curly or straight, or even dyed or natural. Lice aren’t picky; any human scalp will do. However, if the hair is extremely dirty and greasy, lice do have a harder time getting a secure grip on it. Although many people think that lice are found primarily on people with poor hygiene, the truth is that lice actually prefer clean hair.
Since lice can’t jump or fly and are limited to crawling, the primary way lice spread is from head to head contact. To survive, head lice need human blood every 24 to 48 hours. This means that they will perish if they are not on a human head for two or three days, maximum.
It’s also possible to get lice from sharing hairbrushes, hair accessories, towels, hats, or other personal items that may have touched a lice-infested head. You can also transfer lice to upholstered furniture, bed sheets, pillow cases, and stuffed animals.
It’s also important to know that head lice do not live on cats, dogs, rabbits, or other animals. Human head lice can only survive on human blood, not on animals’ blood. Lice can transfer onto a pet, just as they would to a piece of furniture, a stuffed animal, or a hat. However, if the lice are off of a human host more than a couple days, they will not survive.
The Life Cycle of Head Lice
When you are searching for head lice on your child’s head, you should be on the lookout for lice at the various stages of their life cycle.
Lice eggs are called nits, and they are attached to the hair shaft very close to the scalp. Lice eggs can sometimes be confused with dandruff.The way to tell if it is really an egg is by observing the color and shape. Nits are clear when they are first laid. As they get closer to hatching, they change from clear to beige to dark brown. Because they are clear when first laid, they often appear to be the same color as the person’s hair they are in. The darker the nit, the closer it is to hatching. After they hatch, the empty shell is white. Therefore, it’s very difficult to tell the difference between a brand-new nit that is clear and an empty shell that is white. Using a magnifying glass with a bright light source is recommended due to these aforementioned difficulties, as well as the fact that nits are very tiny. Nits take approximately seven to ten days to hatch.
After the egg hatches, a “nymph” is born. A nymph will be a cloudy color - a mixture of white and gray. They are about the size of a pinhead. A nymph goes through growing stages, shedding their exoskeleton three times before becoming an adult louse. This process takes around seven to ten days.
Adult head lice are about the size of a sesame seed or strawberry seed and are tan in color. With the naked eye, you can see them moving quickly along the hair and scalp of an infected person. A female head louse will lay between 2 to 10 nits per day. That means one louse can lay approximately 100 eggs during her lifetime. Moreover, adult lice can live up to 30 days on a human's head. They feed on blood a few times every day and will die within a few days if they are not able to feed.
Issues Lice Can Cause
While a lice infestation can feel daunting, it’s important to understand that lice don’t transmit diseases. Head lice don’t carry any viral or bacterial infectious diseases.The main problem they cause is itching or a burning sensation. Other symptoms of lice can include a tickling sensation as lice move across the scalp, and red bumps on the scalp or neck.
One of the biggest problems with head lice is containing the problem so they don't spread to other family members, friends, and classmates. Obviously, the other problem is actually getting rid of lice from your family and home!
Getting Rid Of Lice In Your Home
How Do You Contain The Problem and Stop Lice From Spreading?
The unfortunate reality of head lice is that they are super contagious. All it takes is a hug for lice to transfer from one person to another. Therefore, it’s essential to take steps to prevent lice from spreading through your home and to other members of the family. It can feel overwhelming and stressful to treat one child, let alone the whole family!
In fact, it often takes a while to realize that your child has head lice. It can take a few weeks before a child exhibits the main symptom of head lice - an itchy scalp. Itching is caused by an allergic reaction to lice saliva. It can take time for the body to react once lice have been introduced to the scalp. Catching itching early and treating it as soon as possible will help prevent the lice from spreading to others. Early intervention helps reduce the infestation level!
It’s recommended that when a person has a confirmed case of lice, you check everyone in your household. Items that have touched the infected head should be put in the dryer at high heat for 30 minutes. Washing the items is not the effective part; you can skip the washing altogether as long as you put things in the dryer.You should avoid close contact, hugging, and lying on furniture, pillows, or carpet that has been in contact with a person who is infested with lice.
It’s also best to not share any clothing, towels, brushes, or other personal items with a person who has lice. Also, any items that can’t be put in the dryer can be sealed in a plastic bag or storage container and put in the freezer for twelve hours.
Without a host, lice will die within a few days, and without the heat source of the human scalp, nits will perish within a few days. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends keeping everything in a plastic bag for two weeks as an act of extreme caution.
Lastly, it’s important to remember these crucial guidelines. If you see lice on your child’s head, it needs to be treated. If you live with someone or are physically in close contact with someone who has lice, you need to be checked and treated. If you share a bed with someone who has lice, you need to be treated as well.
Should My Child Stay Home From School?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is widespread agreement that no-nit policies should be eliminated saying:
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the National Association of School Nurses (NASN) advocate that 'no-nit' policies should be discontinued. 'No-nit' policies that require a child to be free of nits before they can return to schools should be discontinued for the following reasons:As previously explained, this policy requires students to be completely free of nits before returning to school. Both associations agree that students should stay home until treatment has been initiated and crawling head lice have been eradicated.
1. Many nits are more than ¼ inch from the scalp
2. Such nits are usually not viable and very unlikely to hatch to become crawling lice, or may in fact be empty shells, also known as ‘casings’.
3. Nits are cemented to hair shafts and are very unlikely to be transferred successfully to other people.
4. The burden of unnecessary absenteeism to the students, families and communities far outweighs the risks associated with head lice.
5. Misdiagnosis of nits is very common during nit checks conducted by non-medical personnel.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2015)
Essentially, nits are cemented to hair shafts and are unable to transfer to other people.Also, some nits are not actually viable, which means that they won’t hatch. In fact, some nits that appear on hair shafts might actually be just empty shells (casings) from lice that have already hatched.
The NASN, the AAP, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that the burden of absenteeism to students and their families outweighs the risks of head lice spreading once crawling lice have been eradicated, and nits are all that's left to deal with. In theory, this is a sound policy. However, in reality, the challenge with this policy lies in the fact that the live bugs are good at quickly scurrying out of sight when you are inspecting the head. So you may think you have eradicated all the crawling lice but in reality you just can’t see them. The staff at Lice Choice have done thousands of lice screenings and we have experienced this many times. During the visual inspection we may not see any live bugs. Then we do a treatment with our Lice Choice Head Lice Treatment Spray and we comb out the bugs that were hiding. Another reason this policy is not reliable is because lice have become resistant to the pesticides in the popular over-the-counter treatments.So even if a family is doing treatments at home, there’s no guarantee they eradicated all the live bugs.
How To Get Rid of Lice
If you or your child have lice, you need a treatment that works. However, be aware that over-the-counter and prescription treatments have been rendered completely ineffective due to the evolution of lice into Super Lice. Super Lice have developed resistance to over-the-counter and prescription products that contain pyrethrins and permethrin.
Unfortunately, these two chemicals are the main active ingredient in nearly all over-the-counter and prescription treatments.To learn more about how these pesticides are both ineffective and harmful, click here.
We’ve gone over the problem; let’s get to the answer. Getting rid of lice is your goal. Lice Choice is the Solution.
Lice Choice solves your family’s lice problem effectively and efficiently. Lice Choice is an organic solution that uses lice’s own digestive enzymes against them. That means that it is impossible for lice and Super Lice to develop resistance to Lice Choice, as the formula utilizes what is naturally found inside their own bodies!
Lice Choice products are carefully crafted for maximum effectiveness, while taking the level of potential harm to your family down to zero. Unlike prescription products which use the neurotoxic chemical lindane, and over-the-counter products that use chemicals that are likely carcinogenic, Lice Choice uses only organic, non-GMO, and non-toxic ingredients. For example, a report by the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research found that:
Lindane has neurotoxic properties similar to those of DDT, killing lice by overstimulation of the parasite’s central nervous system. Although lindane was once considered a primary treatment of head lice, poor efficacy and serious adverse events have resulted in use restrictions. Resistance to lindane is widespread and has resulted in decreased efficacy in the United States.
- Dr. Craig G. Burkhart, Mayo Clinic(2004)
Free of all chemicals and pesticides, Lice Choice is hypoallergenic and gentle on sensitive skin. There are no side effects to using our products. They are safe on all ages and are effective on all lice— Super Lice included!
Our Lice Choice Head Lice Treatment Spraycomes in a 32oz (750ml) bottle, which contains enough formula for eight to ten treatments, depending on the length and thickness of the hair. There is enough for the entire family to be treated! Any leftover solution can be stored for future preventative use. Unlike other chemical-based products that doctors strongly advise against using preventively due to their potentially harmful side effects, Lice Choice can be safely used every day to guard against re-infestation.
Our highly effective Head Lice Treatment Spray is an excellent solution for both preventative care and an active case of lice, so you get two products in one.
Our Lice Choice Household Spray is perfect for families who don’t want to go through the hassle of packing all fabric items in their homes in plastic bags to store for up to two weeks. Stuffed animals, pillows, blankets, clothing, and car seats can all be treated with our Lice Choice Household Spray. With just a few quick sprays, you can safeguard against a lice re-infestation. Lice Choice Household Spray provides the peace of mind you need to ensure that after you effectively eradicate lice from your family, they don’t come back again a few days later.
The Lice Choice Terminator Nit Comb was designed to maximize effectiveness to get every last nit out of the hair. Its micro-grooved teeth seize lice and nits and expertly pulls them out of the hair without removing clumps of hair in the process.
With our expertly crafted and enormously successful Lice Choice products, you can rest assured that your lice problem will soon be over. Forget the stress of possible allergic reactions, side effects, and hazardous chemicals that other lice treatment products could cause.Not to mention the fact that different products will not even affect the widespread chemical-resistant Super Lice.
Lice Choice products are the foundation for successful eradication.When lice show up in your home, all you need is Lice Choice.