Preventing Head Lice

It is no surprise that September is Head Lice Prevention Month. As children return to the classroom, it is common to see an outbreak in head lice infestations at this time of year.

Head lice are parasitic insects that need human blood to live. They are highly contagious and everyone – even those with the best of hygiene habits – is susceptible, but there are ways to reduce your child’s risk.

Even young children can be taught some simple ways to avoid getting head lice, starting with not sharing. Although it may be contrary to everything they’ve been taught, this is one time when generosity isn’t a great idea. Head lice can be transferred from one person to another through sharing objects such as combs, brushes, hair accessories, helmets, hats, scarves, coats and headsets.

Head lice move by crawling and can spread through hair-to-hair contact. High-risk situations include contact sports, sleepovers, camps and playground activities. Talk to your child about the ways head lice are spread and the importance of avoiding these activities when there is a known head lice outbreak.

If you think your child may have come into contact with an infected person, don’t panic. Disinfect combs and hairbrushes by soaking them in hot water for 10 minutes. Machine-wash all bedding, towels and clothing that might be contaminated using hot (130 degree) water and dry on the hot setting. Seal any items that can’t be washed in a plastic bag and leave for 2 weeks.

Check your child’s hair for signs of nits, the eggs laid by female head lice. Nits are small white or yellowish dots and often resemble dandruff. They attach firmly to hair shafts close to the scalp. Adult lice are brown seed-like insects that move quickly and can be difficult to spot.

Symptoms of head lice infestation including itching, crawling sensation on the scalp, scalp sores due to scratching and restless sleep, since head lice are often active at night.

It is not usually necessary to see a dermatologist for the treatment of head lice, since there are a number of effective treatment options available without a prescription. After selecting a treatment, follow the directions carefully and use only one product at a time.

If head lice do not go away after treatment, or if scalp infection develops, contact your dermatology office for advice about additional treatments or prescription medications.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Help! I'm Embarrassed by This Mole

If you have an embarrassing mole, getting it checked out and removed by an expert can go a long way in providing emotional ease. Mole removal may also help protect you from serious health consequences, such as advanced skin cancer.

4 Ways to Treat Hair Loss

Patches of baldness or larger amounts of hair in your brush can be pretty upsetting. We can help treat these signs of alopecia through several noninvasive treatments, including light therapy and different types of medications.

When Should I Seek Help for a Rash?

While some rashes are quite mild and temporary, others require swift medical care. Getting care from a dermatologist when rash symptoms set in can help determine the underlying cause and your ideal treatment.

Can Anybody Get a Chemical Peel?

Chemical peels can enhance your appearance by bringing about new, healthy skin — but are they for everyone? Before scheduling a chemical peel, consider whether you’re a good candidate.

Got Age Spots? We Have Solutions

Do you notice unsightly age spots on your face, hands, and elsewhere? Your skin sustains sun damage that can result in age spots. Keep reading to learn about your options for professional cosmetic treatment to remove or reduce your age spots.

Why Do I Still Get Acne and What Can I Do About It?

Have you tried face wash after face wash but still struggle with adult acne? You’re not alone. Thankfully, your dermatologist can provide comprehensive care. Keep reading to learn about the common causes of acne and what we can do to help.