louse or nit comb to locate and remove the offending insects. Although the hair may appear 'peppered' with eggs, there generally are fewer than a dozen active lice on the head at any time. Adult female lice usually cement each egg to the base of a hair shaft near the skin. As the hair grows (from the base), these attached eggs are transported away from the scalp. Eggs more than one-half of one inch away from the scalp are nearly always hatched and do not, by themselves, indicate an active infestation. Louse or nit combs can be useful in removing lice and eggs. Diverse types of fine- toothed combs may be included within packages of pediculicides or they may be purchased from virtually any drug store, pet supply store (often at a discount) or via the web. Some louse combs are better than others; their effectiveness depends on a) their composition (metal vs. plastic) and construction (length and spacing of the comb teeth), b) the texture of the hair to be combed, c) the technique used to comb, and d) the time and care expended in the effort. Whereas straight hair is usually readily combed, tight
curls may present an impossible and impractical challenge. Hair should be cleaned and well-combed or brushed to remove tangles before attempting to use a louse comb. Clean the louse comb frequently to remove any caught lice or eggs. It may require several hours each night for several nights to tackle the problem. An entertaining video may help keep the child occupied during this exercise. Sit behind the child, and use a suitably bright light (and magnification if available), to inspect and comb through the hair, one small section at a time. Repeat until no more active lice are observed. Some parents report that water, vegetable oils or hair conditioners help lubricate the hair and ease the combing process; others report that these lubricants make it more difficult to see the eggs. "Electronic" louse combs that resemble small bug "zappers", or those with oscillating teeth would seem to offer little advantage, if any, over a well-designed traditional louse comb. Teeth of these devices may not effectively reach to the scalp and may not kill or remove eggs. Pyrethroid insecticides Infestations may be treated with shampoos containing permethrin or pyrethrins specifically labeled for use on people. Some formulations also contain a synergist, a chemical that may enhance the activity of the insecticide. As with any insecticide or drug, read and follow the label directions. Because these products seem to have limited ovicidal (egg-killing) activity, a second treatment is often necessary about 10 days later to target lice that hatch after the initial treatment. Susceptible lice do not fall from the hair or die immediately upon treatment with pyrethroids; one should wait until the next morning to determine the fate of treated lice.
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- Summer '14
- Head louse, Facial hair, Pediculosis, Body louse, Crab louse, Louse