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Head Lice & Young Children
For parents, head lice can be a very big nuisance that comes from such small insects. The louse moves from head to head infesting the hair of the human host in a short time.
Once the lice have found a host and their hair and scalp they will reproduce very efficiently. The female louse can lay between 3 and 6 eggs a day. As you can imagine, the eggs aren’t very big at all…just about the size of a grain of sand.
The eggs (or nits as they are also called) take about a week to incubate before the new lice (called nymphs) are introduced into the world.
After hatching, nymphs go through 3 stages before becoming an adult, during each stage they shed their exoskeleton to promote growth.
For children, the primary contributing factor to the spread of lice infestation is that children support the lice population simply through their day-to-day activities in which they engage. , lice can more easily transfer and propagate in such conditions of close contact. And children at this age are not aware of the warning signs when their heads begin to move.
Children between four and eleven in age are the most likely to carry and promote the infestation. Again, this is because older children start to become more protective about personal space; and children younger than about four years don’t spend nearly as much time around large groups of children.
Checking your child for infestation is quite easy; and should be undertaken if your child complains about his head procedure or you have noticed that without knowing that he scratches his head more than it has been normal.
You can buy a lice comb from your local pharmacy and comb your child’s hair with the comb, or do a visual inspection. If you opt for the latter, you’ll want to look more for the small eggs (nits) that are attached to the baby’s hair follicles. The odds are not in your favor that you will initially see a head louse. This is because as you part your child’s hair and shine some kind of light (which you need) the live louse will run to cover.
So, even if your child is not happy with you running a comb through his hair or manually inspecting it, it is certainly more desirable than having an infestation left to get worse.
If you determine that an infestation is present, your local drugstore will have different types of lice lotions, shampoos, and topical treatments.
These treatments most likely contain a mild insecticide; these types of treatments will take less time to work as they contain ingredients.
Even after the treatment, it is important to check the child’s hair with the “nit” comb to make sure that all the infestations are cleared and that the dead lice are removed effectively.
A sometimes difficult aspect when it comes to children and lice, is that even after being able to relieve an infestation, you may find that in months or even weeks they have another infestation. This will probably be due to other children who may have lice.
Because of this, a cycle can continue for months, depending on how proactive and diligent other parents are in dealing with the lice infestation.
The problem is perpetuated when some parents are unable or unwilling to use available treatments. As such, their children may have a prolonged infestation period. If you believe that this is the case and the school, day care or social group that the child frequents does not seem proactive enough; you should remove your child from this particular environment until the recurring infestation has been effectively treated.
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