Not only is winter cold and flu season, but it is also one of the most active seasons for head lice breakouts in numerous schools. These tiny critters love to travel from hats to hoods to ear muffs hung and stored next to each other at school. That’s why head lice are very common, particularly in school children during the winter. Dr. Phillips, dermatologist at SkinCare Physicians, shares a few tips on how to detect and treat head lice.
It is estimated that up to 12 million children, between the ages of three and twelve, get head lice every year. Head lice are spread through head to head contact or cloth contact. They are totally unrelated to cleanliness. Patients with head lice often complain of intensely itchy scalp. They tend to scratch a lot so that the scalp becomes red and very irritated. They may develop crawling sensations on the scalp and may even see small lice crawling in their scalp. Other scalp conditions can also cause scalp itching, so it is important to get your child’s scalp checked if they are complaining of severe scalp itching.
If you suspect that your child has head lice, look carefully through the scalp, particularly behind the ears and around the nape of the neck. You may see one of the following: Adult lice look like small brown sesame seeds. They will often move quickly through the scalp. Eggs are attached to the hair and are difficult to move along the hair shaft. They are often light yellow or brown in color.
If at home treatment does not work, you should see a dermatologist who can prescribe more potent medications to treat the head lice. But we hope that you have a head lice-free winter!