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Head Lice: Pest Control or Healthcare Issue?

There are many misconceptions about whether head lice should be considered a healthcare issue or common pest control. Well, from the general information available, it’s widely known that head lice should not be regarded as a public or medical health hazard for many reasons.  One of these reasons is that head lice don’t spread disease.  Head lice should be treated as an individual healthcare problem.

With that being said, head lice can be an irritation as its presence might cause loss of sleep and itching. For this reason, head lice fall under the category of being a healthcare problem that should be placed under control at the earliest convenience.  Addressing a head lice problem aggressively may help prevent its spread to other people.  Here is everything you need to know about head lice. 

What Are Head Lice? 

Head lice are known as wingless parasites that feed on blood and are classified as a louse species. Head lice are one of more than 3,000 louse species that can be located globally and falls under the category of human lice, along with body lice and crab lice. The head lice’s color varies from a grayish black to dirty white and has a long, flat body with six legs. 

What’s the Difference between Lice and Dandruff? 

Dandruff and lice are known to cause similar symptoms, but these are two different problems. Head lice eggs are tiny and attach firmly to the hair shaft. On the other hand, dandruff has an appearance that looks more like flakey skin, generally white or yellow. This dandruff can be located in various spots of the scalp. However, one of the most common differences between dandruff and head lice is that head lice eggs are contagious, and dandruff isn’t. 

How Do You Identify Head Lice? 

The correct identification of head lice is crucial in gaining a successful treatment plan while avoiding unnecessary treatment methods. A study that Harvard School of Public Health researchers has published has shown that most head lice diagnoses are generally misdiagnosed. In fact, around 41 percent of 600 respondents misdiagnosed head lice infestations, which poses a severe problem.

Accurately diagnosing head lice infestations ensures that you avoid the cost and potential hazards of treatment commonly experienced from a misdiagnosis. If someone is experienced with frequent itching in their hairline and scalp or you’ve been exposed to someone with head lice, you should examine your scalp each night for around a week or two. It’s recommended to conduct these inspections in a good light and with a magnifying glass and metal lice comb. Head lice eggs stick to the hair shaft, which is unlike dandruff that can be easily flicked away. 

Lice in hair can easily be treated if done properly and before the head lice infestation becomes severe. Here are some of the most common lice treatment plans to follow: 

Hair Cutting 

You can use safety scissors to clip out individual hair that has head lice eggs. This can be used as an alternative method to using a lice comb in hair with nits. Not to mention, cutting the hair shorter also enables you to easily remove lice in hair in a more certain way than using a louse comb. 

Hair Combing 

Hair combing is a brilliant way of ensuring that you kill all lice (in hair) without having to cut your hair. This is because hair combing works as a crucial way of physically removing a lice infestation and preventing re-infestation. You can purchase a specialized comb that’s used explicitly for de-lousing. 

You should start hair combing with clean and conditioned hair that’s been towel-dried. You can first use a regular comb to remove any snarls and then begin using the de-lousing comb with a bright lamp or sunlight. Hair clips should be used to section off the lice in hair and a sealable bag or container to place the head lice and stray hair you end up removing. Not to mention a tissue that can be used to wipe the comb. 

Home Cleaning 

Along with head lice treatment plans for your scalp, you also need to look at effective treatment plans to ensure all the head lice are removed from your home. This helps prevent re-infestation. As head lice is a pest, you’re going to have to deal with this matter as you would with any other pest. 

The proper pest control for head lice would be to clean all carpets, clothing, bedding, upholstered furniture, and any objects that might have come into contact with your head during this time. These objects might include stuffed animals, headphones, bike helmets, and car seats. You should wash the items that you can in hot water at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit and freeze the others for at least ten hours in temperatures that are five degrees Fahrenheit or lower. You can then vacuum upholstered furniture, carpets, and car seats for any stray hairs and remaining head lice eggs. 

Insecticides for Head Lice Control 

Many head lice infestations might need the use of lice-specific insecticides in order to remove these head lice infestations for good. However, it’s highly recommended not to use any products that are not recommended by your physician. In addition to this, some precautions come with using lice-specific insecticides to control head lice infestations. Here are some of the most beneficial things you can do if you have a head lice problem and require pesticides: 

  • The first thing you should do is discuss the health hazards associated with these pesticides with your pediatrician or doctor. 
  • After you have successfully controlled the infestation, you should evaluate whether there’s a need for continued insecticide use. It’s important to note that every use of a insecticide plays a role in the long-term development of resistance that head lice build-up against this chemical. 
  • You should always carefully read and follow the instructions found on the label of these insecticides. 
  • Only use FDA-approved pharmaceutical insecticides products, as well as review all the guidelines and labels, even if you’ve used this product before. 

Finally, it’s highly recommended to only use insecticide treatment if you have confirmed that there is an active head lice infestation. This entails viable head lice eggs and adult lice.  In summary, lice infestations are a health-related problem that require a healthcare solution.

If you’re looking for the right team to handle the issue for you, Synergy² is here to help. We provide trusted services throughout the area, so contact us for the best pest control services around. Feel free to read more about us and decide if Synergy² is the right company for you.  We have over 270 Five-Star Google reviews for pest control service in the Jackson metro area (Jackson/Madison/Brandon/Ridgeland). Check out our newest location reviews for pest control service in Jackson, MS here at Synergy² Jackson Pest Control!

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