Dr. Beck Answers Commonly Asked Questions About Head Lice

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LiceDoctors on-staff medical doctor answers some of the most asked questions from parents.

How do I Know if My Child Has Head Lice?

You may see her scratching her head or you may be advised that one of her friends has a case. You might get a call from the school nurse or you may see a bug crawl out of the hair. Any of these scenarios should alert you to check the scalp. You should do this in bright lighting and you are looking for translucent, sticky eggs within a quarter of an inch from the scalp.

How Soon After Diagnosis Should We Be Treated?

You should seek treatment as soon as you diagnose a case. Head lice will not disappear or go away by themselves. In fact, each bug lays 6 to 10 eggs a day. Within a couple of weeks those eggs will hatch and you will have exponentially more lice in your hair. If not treated, this trend will continue in perpetuity. In addition the longer the case drags on, the more likely it is that you will transmit it to others.

What is the Life Cycle of Lice?

A head lice infestation begins with the arrival of a louse in the hair. An adult female louse will lay her eggs near the scalp. About 10 to 14 days later, the eggs will hatch. The babies that emerge are called nymphs. The nymph does not move to another head nor does it lay eggs until it is mature. While the lice are on the scalp, they will feed several times a day from the blood. This cycle will continue until the person undergoes lice treatment. Lice may cause itchiness, but they do not carry disease.

Chemical Lice Treatments Have Failed to Eliminate the Lice; Should We Re-Treat with Them?

LiceDoctors does not recommend that. The reason that the lice chemicals failed is that the bugs have developed a resistance to them. In addition, chemicals are unable to penetrate the shell of the eggs. The most effective way to get rid of a head lice infestation is to physically remove the eggs (nits). If a single nit is left behind, the case will continue.

What Do I Need to Do to Clean the House?

You do NOT need to clean the house to get rid of head lice. Lice make their homes on the human head, not in the house. They will die very shortly if they are not on the head. For that reason, it is not necessary to put away all the toys, wash all the clothes, and vacuum everything in sight. This is a big waste of time. All of your attention should be focused on eradicating lice in the hair.

If you find lice in your family, LiceDoctors can send an experienced technician to your Cambridge or Brookline home to alleviate the problem. Techs have the proper equipment and expertise to ensure that you are finished with lice. All treatments come with a 30 day guarantee. Call LiceDoctors at 617-517-4197 for treatment day or night, 7 days a week.