Our children are constantly in contact with the environment and its components: objects, adults, peers, animals and
From this we can conclude that absolutely sterile living conditions, in principle, does not exist, and we can not protect our own child from all negative agents. This circumstance explains the high contagiousness of the head lice or head lice in children.
Pediculosis occurs when parasitizing small insects on the scalp of a child’s head – lice that feed on blood. Since lice are parasites, lice are referred to as parasitic skin diseases.
Head louse, whose life cycle lasts about 3 weeks, is an insect about 3 mm in size, has a gray-brown color and parasitizes on the scalp. It has a high reproductive potential – just 6-14 days after hatching, the female can lay eggs. Insect eggs are called nits, in appearance similar to dandruff, but difficult to remove from the hair. Ripening of eggs to larvae occurs within 7-10 days.
Where do lice come from? Causes of infection
Why does the baby have lice? Such a problem as lice and nits in children is very common, since it is among the children’s population that the parasite transmission route, the contact one, is easily realized.
Many parents, having learned about this trouble, are wondering where lice could have come from, from a prosperous, hygienic and inspected child?
The concept that pediculosis is common only among socially disadvantaged children is incorrect, today lice are detected in children from different families, including those who are well off. Infection of a healthy child occurs from a person (child, adult) affected by lice. The louse is not able to move actively and, contrary to the common myth, does not know how to jump and fly, but it can crawl.
During close contact, the insect crawls from one head to another and continues its life cycle in a new place. Contact of children is very high in any organized groups (kindergartens, camps, schools, boarding schools), therefore, under such conditions, mass infection with lice is often detected. Close contact is also possible in children’s playgrounds during games, on a visit, at children’s parties and
The transfer of insects is also possible when using individual objects and hygiene products by several children during games – combs, towels, hats, hairpins, rubber bands. Much less often the contact way is realized in public places – hairdressing salons, baths, pools.
Based on the above, it becomes clear that if lice are found, the reasons lie in the social conditions of his stay, in contact with the source of infection. However, there are also factors of individual predisposition to pediculosis:
- the presence of long hair, especially in girls, because under such conditions, the louse has a great chance to catch on and start parasitism;
- antisocial conditions of life, which is often observed in dysfunctional families, where lice is found in all family members;
- non-compliance with the rules of personal hygiene regarding the care of the scalp – dirty and matted hair creates ideal conditions for the reproduction of lice and contribute to the visual disguise of parasites under dandruff and dirt;
- low parental control of the child.
How to find head lice – head lice symptoms
Lice parasitism on the head causes quite severe itching of the skin, which is most intense in the temples, neck, behind the ears. Because of the constant itch, children become more capricious and restless, constantly scratching their heads and sleeping poorly.
The products of vital activity of lice fall on the skin of the face and neck and lead to the appearance of erythema, vesicles, papules, which can assume the character of chronic dermatitis with prolonged absence of treatment with pediculosis drugs. When a coccal infection gets through the wound on the skin, secondary pyoderma occurs, and with its significant spread, an increase in lymph nodes is possible.
Pubic and dressing pediculosis in children is a rare phenomenon. Symptoms are similar to head lice and differ only in localization – with pubic lice, the skin of the pubic region and genitals suffers, with ward skin, itching and scratching of the whole body are noted.
Lice are detected by visual examination of the scalp. In organized children’s groups, children are regularly examined for pediculosis by a health worker or educator, however, parents should also examine the child’s head, regardless of whether he or she attends an educational institution.
The main signs that can be suspected head lice:
- Small sores, swelling on the skin of the neck, shoulders, head
- Nits – lice eggs are transparent or white micro dots that attach to the hair at an angle.
To inspect the child must sit on a chair under a source of bright light. If the hair is long, the strands are separated from each other with a thin comb and examined. Living lice, despite their small size, are easy to detect when examined, and when the disease is neglected, dead individuals are also detected. Scratches with crusts, bluish spots can be found on the surface of the skin.
Nits are often confused with dandruff, but, unlike dandruff, they are difficult to remove from the hair and, when crushed between the nails, create a typical click.
In the conditions of medical institutions for the diagnosis of pediculosis, a special Wood’s lamp is used, under which live nits glow with a blue fluorescent light.
How to get lice?
If lice are detected, treatment should be started as soon as possible.
- firstly, it will prevent the spread of the disease among contact persons
- second, avoid unpleasant complications
- thirdly, it will save the child from unpleasant symptoms.
There are several areas of treatment for pediculosis, which in most cases have to be combined. Despite the diversity of modern drugs against pediculosis, drug treatment with chemical agents does not always lead to the destruction of parasites, since the latter are capable of producing resistance to the active ingredients of drugs. There are the following remedies for pediculosis in children:
There are three types of chemicals with insecticidal action against head lice:
- Malathion – one of the preparations based on it – Pedilin
- Phenotrin – one of the drugs on its basis Parazidoz (Itaks shampoo)
- Permethrin – based preparations: Pediculicidal medifox-gel, Medifox concentrate for the preparation of an emulsion of 5%, Nittifor, Hygia shampoo, Knicks cream.
- Benzyl benzoate. Drug based on it: Phoxilon Lotion
- Combined drug (Malathion + Permethrin + Piperonyl butoxide) – Pair Plus aerosol about 400 rubles.
Any cure for pediculosis in a child, the active ingredient of which is one of the three mentioned above, is dispensed without a prescription.
When treating with chemicals it is important to strictly follow the instructions for use. The drug must be applied twice, withstanding a week break, because during the initial application only the larvae and adult insects die, but the eggs are not always destroyed by chemical means. Repeated use of the drug allows you to destroy the hatched larvae.
The time to which the drug is applied varies from 10 minutes to half a day. After the preparation is washed away, it is necessary to carefully comb it out with the crest of dead insects.
Drugs with insecticidal action do not always lead to the destruction of lice. This is due to several factors:
- lice insensitivity to the active substance,
- improper use of the drug,
- failure to apply multiplicity of application.
Even the most expensive lice shampoo in children will be ineffective if you do not follow the instructions. Some children have allergic reactions on the background of the use of insecticides, so when you first use or if the child is allergic, you need to be very careful.
The drugs do not protect against reinfection, so after treatment, preventive measures should be taken to prevent pediculosis.
This technique has been known for a very long time, but it is quite effective provided that the combing was performed four times at certain time intervals within two weeks.
After washing, conditioner is applied to the hair with a greasy layer. After combing with a comb with rare teeth, the hair is thoroughly combed out by a frequent comb. Lice will be combed out with air conditioning residues, therefore the comb should be periodically washed. After all hair has been combed, it is necessary to dry it with a towel, comb it and repeat the procedure of combing it with a frequent comb.
Combing according to the described scheme is carried out four times in three days – on 1, 5, 9 and 13 days. This is done to kill the lice at different life cycles.
An interesting experiment! Belgian scientists conducted an experiment showing that the use of a conditioner for hair when combing nits is not inferior to chemical pediculicidal preparations in terms of effectiveness. However, if you started treatment with Permethrin and other chemicals, then before treatment and 2 weeks after, you should avoid using hair rinses and conditioners, as they create a film on the hair and reduce the absorption of chemical agents. That is, use only one way – either drugs, or combing with air conditioning.
There are other, less popular ways to treat pediculosis in children:
- Herbal remedies containing certain essential oils and plant extracts (anise, geranium, basil, rosemary, etc.) have an insecticidal effect with unproven efficacy,
Admission to the team before and after treatment
When lice are detected, active treatment of the child begins immediately. It is very important to carefully follow the rules of personal hygiene at this stage and to prevent contamination of contact persons. At the time of treatment, the child is isolated from the team and is allowed to visit the institution after recovery.
Complications of Pediculosis
As a result of scratching the itchy spots, wounds and crusts appear on the scalp, which are prone to suppuration when attaching a secondary infection. With the complication of pediculosis, impetiginous eczema and pyoderma occur, and in severe forms the hair becomes entangled in a koltun with a putrid odor. Lice can carry infectious diseases, the most dangerous of which is typhus.
Prevention of pediculosis
Prevention of pediculosis is in compliance with the rules of personal hygiene, which is 90% dependent on parents:
- The child should be taught hygienic skills, explain what objects of individual use are and why they should not be given to other children.
- Also, children should understand that it is necessary to observe at least the minimum distance when communicating and playing games with other children and to avoid contact with their heads.
- It is important to regularly examine the scalp of the child in order to detect head lice in time. This event is especially important in identifying head lice in an organized team that the child attends.
- Girls should be taught to tidy and neat hair with hair collected.
Of course, it is impossible to completely prevent pediculosis and eliminate the likelihood of infecting a child. But adherence to elementary safety measures and personal hygiene can significantly reduce this probability.