Getting Rid of Lice Eggs
Treating head lice and lice eggs can be a challenging task, especially if you don’t know very much about the process. There’s a reason why head lice is every parents’ nightmare for their children. There are numerous lice removal products available, but none of them are able to kill lice eggs. This is not a flaw in the products, but rather the protective casing of the egg is nature’s way of ensuring that the lice are sheltered while they are most vulnerable.
What is Head Lice?
Head lice are actually wingless parasites. They are found on the scalp, but their cousin, pubic lice, survive in the pubic regions. Head lice bite into the scalp and draw blood from their host—this is their sole form of nutrition. The typical adult louse will feed several times a day, however it is capable of going a couple of days without eating. When a louse is read to lay its eggs, it will do so on a hair shaft near the scalp where the host’s skin temperature keeps them toasty-warm. After about a week, the baby lice hatch and make their way towards the scalp for their first meal. The general life span after this point is about a month. As mentioned earlier, head lice are wingless, which means they cannot fly from one host to the other, nor can they jump. The only way that head lice can be transferred is from direct person-to-person contact or by coming into contact with an object (such as a hairbrush, clothing, bedding, or carpeting) which contains head lice.
Symptoms of Lice Infection
The symptoms of a lice infection are pretty universal. The most obvious symptom is itchiness caused by mainly by louse bites. For some, the itching may take weeks to occur and for others it may be apparent straight away. Some people develop rash-like bumps on the scalp if they are especially sensitive to the irritation. Scratching often leads to the development of sores on the scalp which can ooze, bleed, and scab over. A common complaint, especially among children, is the feeling that something is crawling around on the scalp or a tickling sensation there.
How to Spot Lice and Lice Eggs
Adult lice are generally smaller than a sesame seed and are grey or tan in color. They are usually harder to spot than the eggs because they move very quickly and tend to keep in the thicker parts of the hair. Lice eggs are much easier to spot and would be your best chance at identifying a lice infestation. You can check the hair line, especially behind the ears and along the neck. Lice eggs appear as white or light brown specks about the size of sand grains. They are located on the hairs themselves and look similar to dandruff, only the eggs do not come off when the hair is shaken, fluffed, or even blow-dried. If you find it difficult to spot any eggs or lice, try using a magnifying glass and a bright light. Lice like darkness and you can sometimes see them scatter if a bright light is shined near the scalp. Before shining the light, try dividing the hair into sections and quickly applying the light. You might be able to see them moving about. Sometimes lice can be found in one’s eyebrows, but this is pretty uncommon.
Getting Rid of Adult Lice and Their Eggs
The best way to get rid of adult lice is to use a professional solution like those found at your local store. Homemade concoctions can harm the scalp and cause more damage than good. For the record, mayonnaise and oil have been thoroughly tested and will not kill head lice. As professional head lice solution does contain chemicals, it is important to follow the directions exactly as stated on the leaflet. It is also important to clean furniture, carpeting, clothing, bedding, coats, and other items which the lice may have been transferred to. It is a good idea to throw away hair brushes and accessories. The only way to remove the lice eggs is to “nit-pick” then. This is done by using a very fine-toothed comb provided in the lice removal kit. They can also be purchased separately at most stores. The hair should be parted into small sections. Starting at the scalp, run the comb through the length of the hair and submerge the teeth of the comb in a bowl of very hot water. Ensure that all eggs are removed from the comb before running it through the hair again. This is a VERY long and tedious process, but it really is the only way to prevent the lice from hatching and re-infesting the scalp. A week or two after the initial treatment is done, you will need to reapply the chemical solution to the scalp as directed by the manufacturer. This will kill off any lice which may have managed to hatch after nit-picking.