Bothering questions

Are lice dangerous to human health?click to

A louse bite causes an unpleasant, irritating itching and skin burning sensation. It hinders concentration of the mind and causes poorer results in learning. Continuous scratching of itching sites on the head is the cause of skin irritation and bacterial infections. The parasite’s saliva and faeces may also cause an allergic reaction manifested as erythema on the nape of the neck and skin changes near the nose and mouth. Infestation with head lice has negative consequences also in personal and social aspects. It causes a strong stress in the infested individual and the awareness of negative perception of infestation with lice by the environment.

Do lice cause itching?click to

Head itching may be, but does not have to be a symptom of infestation with lice. Moreover, not all subjects infested with lice experience itching. Head itching can have several causes:
1. During skin puncture a louse introduces its saliva into the wound, which causes an irritating itching and burning sensation,
2. The parasite’s saliva and faeces may cause allergic reaction development, which increases skin burning sensation and itching. In sensitive individuals, prone to allergy, a visible reddening may occur on the hair line and behind the ears,
3. It happens that the very thought of the parasites causes itching and spontaneous head scratching.

How do head lice spread?click to

1. Head lice live only on human heads.
2 The parasites cannot jump or fly.
3. Lice are not carried over to humans by pets.
The head lice spread by close contact. To move from one head to another, the hair of two persons must come into contact. Full of such opportunities are playgrounds, leisure activities, camping sites and summer camps. People can be easily infested with head lice also at school where lice have a good opportunity to spread. Often, infestation occurs through shared use of combs, brushes and hair elastics, pillows, towels, hats, scarves and clothing.

How to check whether my child has lice?click to

The best way is regular inspection and combing of hair with a fine-tooth comb and direct finding of lice and nits in the hair. Attention should be also paid to the appearance of the scalp. Infestation with lice is accompanied by local reddening of the skin on the head – particularly behind the ears and on the hair line; small papules and excoriations may also appear, developing due to scratching of the itching skin.

Can I protect my child against lice?click to

Unfortunately, that is not possible. It is estimated that almost every child at preschool and school age has at least one infestation with lice. Lice are not picky, they infest indiscriminately neat and untidy, short and long, curly and straight hair, irrespective of colour. If somebody in child’s environment is infested with lice, the chances are high that your child will also have lice. Therefore, the child’s hair should be regularly inspected and combed with a fine-tooth comb, and in case of finding lice, the treatment should be started immediately, before the number of the parasites will grow.

Can I acquire lice through contact with bedclothes or towel?click to

The life of such parasites as lice is closely related to human – the host. If lice come off the head of infested individual, they can survive off the human body for 24-48 hours and then die. Infestation with lice through shared use of combs, brushes and hair elastics, pillows, towels and blankets, hats, scarves and clothing is therefore likely.

Can I acquire lice only at school or nursery school?click to

Lice are transferred most frequently through direct contact of one human head with another. Such contacts are most common at school. However, lice can be acquired everywhere and from everybody, e.g. on playgrounds, camping sites and summer camps, but also in crowded places, e.g. on the tram, bus or train.

Does hair wash removes lice?click to

No. Hair wash is not helpful in case of infestation with lice. Both nits and adult parasites can stand well an immersion in water and effect of standard shampoo.

What to do when we become infested?click to

Start treatment immediately. In order to make delousing effective, it is best to conduct the treatment simultaneously in all persons in the immediate environment, who might have come into contact with the parasites. However, pets need not to be treated – they are not infested with human lice. The apartment should be thoroughly cleaned, since lice can survive off human scalp for even two days – on bed linen, blankets, clothing, upholstered furniture. The things, which cannot be washed, e.g. bedspreads, plush toys etc. should be tightly closed in plastic bags for several days. Nits, however, can survive even two weeks off the host. Therefore the places where hair of an infested person can be present, such as carpets, armchairs and sofas (also car upholstery), should be thoroughly vacuum-cleaned. All hair toiletries (brushes, combs, hair elastics, etc.) should be discarded and new ones should be bought.

How quick a person can be reinfested after effective delousing procedure?click to

At once. An effective delousing procedure does not mean acquiring resistance to another invasion of parasites. Finding live lice after the treatment means that the delousing procedure was ineffective. The causes can vary:
1. resistance of lice to the preparation applied.
2. application of insufficient amount of lice-eliminating preparation. Such a situation can take place in case of long and thick hair. The procedure should be then repeated strictly following the manufacturer’s instructions.
3. Reinfestation with lice. It is worth checking the hair of all household members, to rule out such a possibility.

There is nothing to be ashamed of.

We should remember that:

Lice are not something you should be ashamed of. Many children will catch lice sooner or later, some of them even several times, and it cannot be helped. Instead of remaining silent with embarrassment, it is better to share experience with that problem with other parents and to help each other.

Infestation with lice does not mean that the child and her/his parents do not care about hygiene. Lice are indiscriminate: they infest both neat and untidy hair. Therefore, nobody can be accused that there is any relationship between lice and the level of hygiene in her/his life.

Infestation with lice is nobody’s fault – every child who has lice, has been infested by another child and, most likely, will transfer them to someone else.

Effective elimination of infestation with lice is based on three principles:

comprehensive approach – conduction of the treatment in all household members

simultaneous action – planning of the treatment at the same time in all children at school / class/ group

informing others on the possibility of infestation – making a contact tracking chart

Elimination of infestation with lice, both in a child, and in her/his environment is indispensable for ruling out reinfestation.