The head lice are tiny, wingless parasitic insect that lives among human hairs & feeds on tiny amounts of blood drawn from the scalp. Lice (the plural of louse) are a very common problem, especially for kids. They're contagious, annoying & sometimes tough to get rid of. Lice aren't dangerous. They don't spread disease, although their bites can make a child's scalp itchy & irritated & scratching can lead to infection. It's best to treat head lice quickly once they're found because they can spread easily from person to person.
Although they're very small, lice can be seen by the naked eye. Here are things to look for. Lice eggs (called nits). These look like tiny yellow, tan, or brown dots before they hatch. Lice lay nits on hair shafts close to the scalp, where the temperature is perfect for keeping warm until they hatch. Nits look sort of like dandruff, only they can't be removed by brushing or shaking them off.
Unless the infestation is heavy, it's more common to see nits in a child's hair than it is to see live lice crawling on the scalp. Lice eggs hatch within 1 to 2 weeks after they're laid. After hatching, the remaining shell looks white or clear & stays firmly attached to the hair shaft. This is when it's easiest to spot them, as the hair is growing longer & the egg shell is moving away from the scalp.
Adult lice & nymphs (baby lice): The adult louse (singular of lice) is no bigger than a sesame seed & is grayish-white or tan. Nymphs (baby lice) are smaller & become adult lice about 1 to 2 weeks after they hatch. If head lice are not treated, this process repeats itself about every 3 weeks. Most lice feed on blood several times a day & they can survive up to 2 days off the scalp.
Scratching: Due to lice bites can cause itching. This is actually due to a reaction to the saliva of lice. However, the itching may not always start right away - that depends on how sensitive a child's skin is to the lice. It can sometimes take weeks for kids with lice to start scratching. They may complain of things moving around on or tickling their heads & small red bumps or sores from scratching results.
For some kids, the irritation is mild; for others, a more bothersome rash may develop. Excessive scratching can lead to bacterial infection (this can cause swollen lymph glands & red, tender skin that might have crusting & oozing). This should be treated with antibiotics.
You may be able to see the lice or nits by parting the hairs into small sections & checking for lice & nits with a fine-tooth comb on the scalp, behind the ears & around the nape of the neck (it's rare for them to be found on eyelashes or eyebrows).
A magnifying glass & bright light may help. But it can be tough to find a nymph or adult louse - often, there aren't many of them & they move fast.
See your doctor if your child is constantly scratching his or her head or complains of an itchy scalp that won't go away. The doctor should be able to tell you if your child is infested with lice & needs to be treated. Not all kids have the classic symptoms of head lice & some can be symptom-free.
Also be sure to check with your child's school nurse or childcare center director to see if other kids have recently been treated for lice. If you discover that your child does, indeed, have lice or nits, contact the staff at the school & childcare center to let them know. Find out what their return policy is. Most usually allow kids to return after one topical treatment has been completed.
Lice are highly contagious & can spread quickly from person to person, especially in group sittings (like schools, childcare centers, slumber parties, sports activities & camps).
1. Narrated by Kaab Bin Umra رضي الله عنه (he was in Ihram) that Nabi ﷺ stood beside me at Al-Hudaibiya & the lice were falling from my head in great number. He ﷺ asked me: "Have your lice troubled you?" I replied in the affirmative. He ﷺ ordered me to get my head shaved. Kaab رضي الله عنه added: "This Holy Verse: 'And if any of you is ill, or has ailment in his scalp (2:196), etc. was revealed regarding me. Than Nabi ﷺ ordered me either to fast three days, or to feed six poor persons with one Faraq (three Sas) (of dates), or to slaughter a sheep, etc. (sacrifice) whatever was available.
[Bukhari: 1815, 4191; Book. 27, 64; English vol. 3, 5; Book. 28, 59; Hadees. 42, 504]
2. Narrated by Anas رضي الله عنه that Abdur Rahman Bin Auf & Zubair رضي الله عنه complained to Nabi ﷺ about the lice (that caused itching) so He ﷺ allowed them to wear silken clothes. I saw them wearing such clothes in a holy battle.
[Bukhari: 2920; Book. 56; English vol. 4; Book. 52; Hadees. 169]
Wet combing, ketoconazole shampoo or soap, permethrin soap, tea tree oil, jujube oil, baby oil, olive oil, salt, garlic, white vinegar, coconut oil, petroleum jelly, sesame oil, mayonnaise etc.