Head lice are found in the hair, near the scalp. They can cause it to scratch the scalp. Head lice spread through contact hair to hair. You can detect lice by combing your hair over a white surface. You can treat yourself with non-prescription drugs.

Anyone can get head lice. It has nothing to do with hygiene. The head lice do not spread any disease.

Spread through contact hair to hair

The head lice live on human blood. They move by climbing on the hairs. The hairs need to be at least three inches in order for the lice to thrive. The lice cannot fly or jump.

The lice are therefore spread through direct contact head to head. This can be, for example, when children use the same tablet or other situations when children are in contact with each other’s heads.

Lice that have fallen outside the hair, such as on the floor or in sofas, are weakened and cannot move. They survive for a maximum of 24 hours. Therefore, there is no real need to clean sheets, towels or toys. 

The lice can possibly be spread from hair in combs and brushes, which should, therefore, be cleaned.

How do I detect lice?

Head lice can be seen with the naked eye. They are two to three millimeters long. The color is gray, brown, black or red if they have drawn blood. However, young lice can be small and difficult to detect.

Usually, it scabies on the scalp if you have lice, but you can have lice without it itching. It itches because you become hypersensitive to the saliva of the lice. The itching will not occur until 4-6 weeks after you have been infected. The itching will be faster if you become infected again, even after a few days. Adults with lice and children who have recently been infected often lack symptoms, and can, therefore, be a hidden source of infection.

Black powder on the pillow or collar may be the lice’s stool or sore lice skin.

Look for lice with the help of lice comb

The easiest way to find out if you have lice is to use a lice comb. Choose a lice comb that is CE marked, which shows that it complies with EU regulations. You can ask your pharmacist if you are unsure. The comb should have dense and stiff teeth. If the comb is light, the lice are best seen.

Comb your entire hair carefully, from the scalp along the entire strand. It is good to comb your hair over, for example, a sheet or a mirror. The lice stay still and become easier to detect if you have conditioner in your hair. Wipe the comb on white paper after each combing. If there are lice in the hair, they get stuck in the comb or end up on the substrate.

If it is difficult to comb your hair

It can be difficult to comb with curly hair if the hair is frizzy, curly or thick. Try combing one small tussle at a time. If this is not possible, use a coarse comb or your fingers to distribute the hair.

Look for lice eggs

You can also look for lice eggs on the scalp near the scalp. They may be easier to detect than the lice themselves. The eggs that contain the lice are dark. The empty eggs are light, often yellowish-white, oval, about a millimeter long, and accompany the growth of the hairs.

Even if you find lice eggs on the hairs, you may not have live lice, as the eggs may be hatched and empty. Don’t treat if you only find empty eggs. They disappear as the hair grows out. You can also try to comb them.

Cuddly like this

Start with the back of your head

  1. Make a vertical leg and comb through the hair on each side.
  2. Then make a new leg right next to it and comb through the entire hair.

Look for lice before school starts

It is most likely to have head lice in the summer when they are most active. When the school term begins, the lice can be spread. Therefore, cuddle the children and treat the children who have live lice before school starts. It is the best way to prevent lice epidemics.

Inform the surroundings

In order to get rid of lice, it is important that everyone who may be infected is examined, so that everyone who has lice can be treated at the same time. It can be a family, preschool or school class. Therefore, inform people with whom the infected person has been in close contact if you have found lice.  

Treatment for head lice

Treat with lice if you have found live lice.
The effect of preventive treatment is uncertain.

Treat with medical devices

Treat with a medical device containing dimethicone. Medical devices must be CE marked, ie meet EU safety requirements. A domestic icon is available as shampoo, spray, and solution.

Follow the operating instructions carefully. Repeat treatment for head lice after seven days.

Contact hair against hair should be avoided until you have done two treatments with seven days in between.

Continue combing after treatment

Continue to carefully comb your hair twice a week for two weeks after the last treatment. This is to make sure that the lice have really disappeared. People in the area should fight for as long as they can, to make sure they have not been released.

If medical devices do not help

You can treat with medicine if dimethicone does not help. The drug contains benzyl benzoate and disulfiram and can be purchased without a prescription. The drug should be massaged into the hair and left for 24 hours. Two treatments are usually needed to get rid of the lice.

If you find lice or eggs after treatment

There may be several reasons why you will find live lice after treatment. You may not have followed the operating instructions carefully enough, or you may have received new lice.

You can find white, empty, lice eggs in the hair long after treatment. They follow the hair as it grows out. They can sit so hard that they disappear only when the hair is cut.

When should I seek care?

Contact  BVC  or a  health care center if you have tried different treatments but still find live lice.

Remember if you have found live lice

  1. Inform anyone who may have become infected.
  2. Chewing comb and treat with dimethicone.
  3. Repeat treatment after seven days.
  4. Trim your hair twice a week for two weeks to make sure the treatment has worked.

Ehtisham Nadeem

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