Head lice and nits are very common among young children and their families. Contrary to popular believed, they are not caused by bad hygiene or dirty hair, and are simply picked up by head-to-head contact.
Head lice are incredibly small insects, up to a mere 3mm in length and can be incredibly difficult to see to the naked eye. You often feel like something is moving around in your hair when you have head lice, and may find yourself itching your scalp a lot.
‘Pediculus humanus capitis’ - The medical term for head lice, lay eggs, which are called nits. These nits appear as barely visible whitish or yellow coloured ovals that attach to hair shafts.
Head lice are particular common amongst schoolchildren – specifically girls – as they are more likely to have closer contact and share items such as hats, combs, scarves, etc.
Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to prevent head lice but you can help stop them spreading by either wet or dry combing regularly in order to catch them at an early stage.
Pubic lice are about only half the size of head lice, and are often called “crabs” because of the claw- like front legs that help the lice attach onto coarse hair, such as pubic hair, and they can also burrow into your skin.
The lice are pale brown in colour and can sometimes appear in underarm and leg hair, hair on the chest, abdomen and back and facial hair, such as beards and moustaches. The lice lay their eggs (nits) in sacs that cling onto the hairs. After the eggs hatch, the empty egg sacs all turn white.
Pubic lice and the associated eggs are small and hard to spot to the naked eye, but they may be visible in coarse hair anywhere on your body (except head hair), causing intense itching. Pubic lice do not occur due to poor personal hygiene, but rather due to contact with an infection person.
They are generally more common amongst sexually active men and women, but children can get them too through close bodily contact.
To prevent re-infestation, everyone you have had close bodily contact with, including any sexual partners during the previous 3 months, should also be treated, even if they are not displaying any pubic lice symptoms.
Similar to pubic lice, scabies is not life-threatening, however it is highly contagious and needs to be treated quickly and effectively to prevent spreading it to another person(s).
Scabies can be thought of as pubic lice’s cousin; both infections often cause an itchy, irritating rash. However, scabies generally spreads across the whole body and the itchiness may be worse at night.
Despite common myth, you cannot get scabies from pets. Those at risk from getting scabies are people living or working in very close proximity, such as those in nurseries, university halls of residence or nursing homes.
If you have scabies, everyone in your household will also need to use scabies treatment at the same time, even if they are not displaying any scabies symptoms. Moreover, those you have had sexual contact with in the previous 8 weeks will also require treatment for scabies.
Before using any lice treatment or scabies treatment, you first need to determine which type of skin infection you have. If you are in any doubt or unsure which treatment to use, a local pharmacy should be able to offer assistance.
As lice and scabies infections can be transferred easily through shared bedding, clothing or towels, these will need to be washed at 50C or higher on the first day of treatment. This will help get rid of any parasites or mites that can spread to and infect others in your house.
Effective treatment for scabies or lice for you and your entire household can be obtained today from Medical Specialists®. With a quick 24 hour delivery from us, you can be sure to be rid of those pesky parasites in no time.