Head Lice Treatment in Santa Monica, CA
The head louse, also known as Pediculus humanus capitis, is a parasitic wingless insect which lives in human hair and feeds on human blood. Most frequently impacting children who attend child care facilities, and elementary-aged schoolchildren, head lice can be both aggravating to deal with and embarrassing.
Fortunately, head lice is not a danger to you or your child's health as it appears the louse does not carry disease; however, swift action is necessary to prevent the parasite from traveling any further, and to provide relief from several uncomfortable head lice symptoms. To schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider in Santa Monica that can advise you on proper head lice treatment, call (424) 365-1800 or contact Dr. Jeremy Fischer online.
Causes of Head Lice
Contrary to popular belief, head lice do not imply you or your child are dirty, or that hygiene is to blame for the appearance of the parasite. Rather, head-to-head contact is the most common way to contract head lice. Since the lice cannot fly or jump, they quickly crawl from person to person. Less frequently, head lice crawl from an inanimate object such as a hair brush or pillowcase to a person's hair. The reason this is less likely is that lice cannot survive for long without human blood.
Head Lice Symptoms
Although head lice are small in size, they can be seen by the naked eye, and often the first symptom is the appearance of lice in one of their three forms: the nit (egg), the nymph (immature louse) and the adult (fully-grown louse). In fact, you or your child may have lice for several weeks before the scalp becomes impacted by physical symptoms which cause the sufferer to want to scratch.
Additional head lice symptoms include:
- Itchy scalp
- Tickling or crawling sensation in the hair
- Difficulty sleeping (due to the louse’s increased activity in the dark)
- Red bumps or sores which result from excessive scratching
How to Get Rid of Head Lice
It is important first to confirm that there are lice present on the scalp before you begin treatment. An itchy scalp alone is not indicative of head lice and could actually signify dandruff, eczema or dermatitis. To confirm head lice, you will want to use a bright light and fine tooth comb to check the scalp for nits which are close to the base of the hair shaft, and for live nymphs and adult lice which move quickly on the scalp and are proficient at avoiding light. If you are unable to confirm the presence of head lice, it is important to seek guidance from a healthcare provider who can assist with a diagnosis.
If head lice are present, there are several products you can purchase at your local pharmacy which can help to get rid of head lice and nits, such as a lice shampoo. It is important to read and follow the instructions of the lice shampoo carefully to ensure its efficacy. All members of the same household should also be checked for lice, and anyone with any evidence of an active infestation should also receive head lice treatment at the same time.
Here are some important steps to consider while administering lice treatment:
- Minimize the contact between the lice medication and the skin (aside from the scalp) to avoid irritation
- You may need more than one bottle of lice medication if the infested person has longer hair
- If lice are still found 8-12 hours after treatment and are still as active as they were before treatment, the medicine may not be working. Contacting a healthcare provider for an alternative medication is important if this occurs
- Do not wash the infested person’s hair for 2 days to allow the medication to work
- After treatment, routinely comb through the hair once a day for 2-3 weeks to comb out dead lice and nits
- 7-9 days after applying lice medication, retreatment can help to kill any surviving hatched lice
In addition, you can take several supplementary measures to safeguard against further infestations. You should wash sheets, pillowcases, towels, blankets, clothing and any other material that came into contact with an infested person's head in a washing machine using hot water, and dry in a dryer using the hottest setting. Brushes and combs should be soaked in hot water (130°F) for a minimum of 10 minutes. For any item that cannot be washed using these tactics, you can place them in a sealed plastic bag for 2 weeks, or sealed overnight in a freezer. Vacuuming your furniture, carpets and floors to remove shed hair is also an important step.
When to See a Healthcare Professional
If you have trouble making a diagnosis, or if treatment does not appear to eliminate the lice from the scalp, it is important to meet with a healthcare professional who can evaluate the scalp and recommend treatment which will bring actual relief. In certain cases, excessive scalp scratching can lead to the development of sores which may become infected with bacteria found on the skin. Your healthcare provider can not only help provide lice treatment but can also help to heal any infection that may result.
To schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider in Santa Monica that can advise you on proper head lice treatment, call (424) 365-1800 or contact Dr. Jeremy Fischer online.
Vitality Integrative Medicine
Address4849 Van Nuys Blvd
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tue: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thu: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Fri: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm