Know the basics
What are Lice?
Lice are tiny parasites, wingless parasites in your blood. Lice are easily spread on the body or clothing and cause dermatitis (redness, itching, swelling) called lice disease. Lice are divided into 3 categories include:
- Head lice: These are found on your scalp. You can see them at the neck or around your ears.
- Body lice: These usually are found on the body. They can be spread by contact through clothing, bed and will move onto your skin to suck blood. They are often found in people who cannot bath frequently such as people who are homeless.
- Pubic lice: This may commonly be known as “crabs,” which are found on the skin and hair in the pubic region. Rarely, they can spread to body hair such as chest hair, eyebrows or eyelashes.
How common are Lice?
Lice are very common. Lice most commonly affect children. You can limit your ability to disease by reducing the risk factors. Please consult your doctor for more information.
Know the symptoms
What are the symptoms of Lice?
Some common signs and symptoms of lice may include:
- Intense itching;
- The tickle feeling of the hair;
- Small red bumps on the scalp, neck and shoulders;
- Pain scalp;
- Lice appear on the scalp, body, and your clothes. Adults may have the size of a sesame seed or slightly larger.
- Lice eggs on the hair base root. These may look like dandruff but the difference is they cannot be brushed out of the hair.
There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.
When should I see my doctor?
Typically, you can remove the lice with self-care steps and home-care treatments such as medicated shampoos.
However, see your doctor if:
- Home care treatments fail to kill the lice. Your doctor can prescribe something stronger.
- You are pregnant. You should avoid medicated shampoos until your consult with your doctor.
- You have the infection rash or abrasions from scratching.
Know the causes
What causes Lice?
The main cause of lice is though contact of an infected person. Lice eggs usually hatch in 1 to 2 weeks. Lice often spread through:
- Direct contact. This can occur through close contact, which most commonly occurs in children who go to school and family members. This can be head-to-head or body-to-body contact.
- Sharing items among friends or family. These can include brushes, combs, clothing or hats with someone with lice.
- Stored personal belongings. Infested clothes or pillows can contaminate furniture or other pillows and blankets in close proximity.
- Contact with contaminated furniture. This can happen by sharing a bed, sofa, or chair.
- Sexual contact. Lice can spread by sexual contact.
Know the risk factors
What increases my risk for Lice?
There are many risk factors for lice, such as:
- Students in school have a higher risk of being infected by direct contact with many people;
- Having sex with an infected partner;
- If you do not bathe regularly;
- If you do not wash your clothes regularly;
- If you do not wash your linens including bed covers.
Understand the diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How are Lice diagnosed?
Your doctor will review your medical history and examination, special attention to the scalp and using a magnifying glass. Your doctor will look for lice eggs on every part of your body.
How are Lice treated?
You can treat lice by using medicated creams, lotions or shampoos. Some types include permethrin (Nix®, Elimite®), pyrethrins (Rin®, R and C®, A-200®) and lindane (Kwell®). Usually treatment is for 7 days. You may need to repeat if the lice come back.
You may need to use a special comb or tweezers to remove the love from the scalp. You can use a magnifying glass to help you see clearly. You should check your eyelashes with lice and lice eggs look or not.
Make sure the lice eggs were completely removed from clothing, toiletries, bedding and furniture. You can do this by cleaning all your sheets, clothes and furniture in hot water with disinfectants.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Lice?
The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with lice:
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.
- Check first of all family members to prevent lice infection.
- Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 1 week.
- Avoid sticky lice shampoo into the eye.
- Keep children away from school, kindergarten or the campsite until the doctor allows.
- Wash clothing, bedding, pillows, stuffed animals and furniture fabrics used when lice. Wash with hot water 55 ° C for 20 minutes, drying with hot dryer. Clean house. For non-washable clothing in a plastic bag closed for 2 weeks before dry cleaning.
- Soak combs and brushes at least 1 hour in lice treatment shampoos, disinfectants, hot water or alcohol-based antiseptic wound.
- Call your doctor if family members or partners have symptoms of lice or symptoms return after treatment.
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Ferri, Fred. Ferri’s Netter Patient Advisor. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders / Elsevier, 2012. Download version.
Lice. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lice/basics/definition/con-20021627. Accessed July 14, 2016.
Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017