Health Care

How to avoid fleas and lice from your hair

Head lice and fleas are the small creatures which could cause extreme discomfort and social stigma. These tiny creatures are the cause of many parents and teachers anxiety. What do we know about them besides they are these pests which we can’t wait to get rid off.  Well they are about 1/8 inch long, about the size of a sesame seed and grey or tan colored meanwhile the nymphs are about 1/16-1/8 inch long. They are usually grey colored and look like a smaller version of an adult louse. Louse eggs measure about 1/16 of an inch which are usually translucent, white, or yellow-brown. They have a flat body with clawed legs that enables them to grasp hair shafts as they feed using their piercing-sucking mouthparts. It is mind boggling to know such a tiny insect can cause so much of vexation. Besides their small size, they have a very short life cycle. They can move between heads six days after hatching, and can lay eggs seven days after hatching. Hence it spreads really fast and the only way to stop the spreading is to break the life cycle in the first five days. You can contract these pests via clothes, hairbrushes, or bedding as they cannot fly or jump, they rely on contact with infested hair to move between people.

The most common signs that you might be dealing with an infestation of head lice includes itchiness, trouble sleeping as lice are more active in the dark, visible lice or nits and rashes due to excessive scratching. So how do you avoid lice and fleas infestation? There are many medical and conventional methods to steer clear of hair lice and fleas. You can get over-the-counter lice treatments which contain active ingredients such as Piperonyl butoxide with pyrethrins, Permethrin lotion, 1%, Spinosad and Dimethicone. Piperonyl butoxide with pyrethrins is made from the chrysanthemum flower and can only be used on children older than two years old. If you are allergic to chrysanthemums (mums) or ragweed then it is advisable to avoid this medication. Permethrin lotion, 1% is the most commonly used medication for lice infestation and it can be used on children older than two months old. Spinosad is derived from bacteria found in soil and is highly effective in eliminating fleas and lice but it can cause skin and eye irritation in certain people. Dimethicone is a silicone-based material that works by coating lice and disrupting their ability to manage water hence killing it.

As for the conventional methods, you can try olive oil. It has many perks such as hydrating your hair as well as excellent smothering agent. Olive oil supposedly suffocates and kills the lice and fleas as it plugs their breathing holes. It is advisable to apply it over night for a good effect. Blow dry your hair as frequently as possible as hot-air methods proved highly effective in eradicating lice and fleas. Vinegar has many good effects on hair such as clearing dandruff, reducing hair fall and due to its acidic property it can dissolve the sticky glue that the female louse produces to attach her eggs to hair shafts. Tea tree oil contains terpenoides, which have natural insecticidal properties and usage of tea tree oil once a week can do miracles for your hair as well as ward off lice infestations. Besides these conventional and medical methods, the most important tip is to avoid hair to hair contact. Avoid sharing items such as combs, hats, scarves, pillow cases, bedding, towels and clothes as these are the means of contracting lice and fleas. In a nutshell, lice and fleas are preventable if proper hygiene is practiced. You can get further information about lice or known as kutu answers by DoctorOnCall on their website.

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