Back to School, Avoid Hair Hitchhikers!

Tips on Lice Prevention

avoid hair hitchhikersThe kids have headed back to school after winter break! It is imperative that parents and caregivers continue to be aware and actively check their children for head lice throughout the year. Lice are parasites found on the scalp and present a unique pediatric dermatological problem. In school-aged children, these parasites are easily spread through personal contact or through sharing items of clothing or hats. An infestation will not resolve itself on its own, so it is crucial for parents and caregivers to be aware of what these parasites look like and for children's heads to be checked for these bugs frequently. For children with long hair, an infestation may be avoided by keeping the child's hair tied up, braided or contained in a bun. Lice are highly contagious and easily spread from person to person, which is why it is important to take precautions in order to avoid transferring them.

Symptoms

When a louse, the singular of lice, imbeds itself into a human head, a number of symptoms can present:

  • Frequent itching and scratching
  • Head sores
  • Difficulty sleeping/insomnia
  • Visible eggs, called nits, in hair

These pesky parasites can certainly be uncomfortable. Constant itching and scratching can also lead to unexpected hair loss. Combing these parasites out of the hair can also lead to hair loss, especially when they are difficult to remove.

When to see a dermatologist for hair loss

If you have any of these symptoms or wonder if your recent hair loss is due to a parasitic condition, it is time to make an appointment with the dermatologist. Dr. Kaplan and his team are able to recognize any underlying conditions, such as lice, which may be causing you or your child's woes or sudden, unexpected hair loss. It is also important to rule out other causes of hair loss.

Treatment for this Condition

Prevention is the best treatment for lice infestation. Special over-the-counter shampoos, conditioners and sprays may help prevent a parasitic infestation from occurring on the scalp. If you suspect that you or your child is suffering from this condition, remain calm because there are steps you can take to adequately eradicate the infestation and remove the parasites quickly and safely.

First, make an appointment with your doctor so that the diagnosis can be confirmed for you and point you in the right direction. Second, be sure to notify your child's school or daycare that your child has lice. It is important for the school to remind other parents to check their children. Finally, even if no one else in your household is showing any signs or symptoms that they have lice, it is still important that they be checked thoroughly. Proper treatment of all infected individuals will be necessary in order to prevent a recurrence of symptoms. Personal belongings like combs, hairbrushes, sheets and clothes will also need to be cleaned thoroughly and properly to prevent reinfection.

A Call to Action

Please do not ignore any signs or symptoms of lice! If you are unsure whether you or your child has lice, consult your doctor. Doctors and dermatologist will be able to properly identify any signs of a louse or its eggs.

If over-the-counter treatments are not effective, prescription medication may be necessary to treat an infestation. For the majority of the population, over-the-counter medications are enough. Some studies have indicated that natural remedies such as essential oils are an effective alternative to prescription medications. As always, consult with a licensed medical professional before treating any health condition.

At Adult & Pediatric Dermatology our caring professionals are here to help. Give us a call us at 913-469-1115 to make an appointment today!

Adult and Pediatric Dermatology
4601 W. 109th St., Suite 116  •  Overland Park, Kansas 66211  •  913-469-1115