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Pediatrician’s word: Invasion of lice! 6 myths, 3 treatments and an effective repellent

Lice also experience their particular return to school. I want to make it clear that there are many myths around head lice that are not true. There are no secrets. If we have them, we will have to treat them with a pediculicidal lotion and use the nit trap daily until they are eliminated.

Myths about lice

1. Lice do not attack very clean, dirty, or very fine hair… No, none of this matters. Lice infest anyone who comes into contact with them.

2. Lice do not jump from one head to another. Lice do not jump or fly, they walk. So for them to colonize a head, there must be close contact with the infested person or their objects (hat, scarves, combs…).

3. Lice are not killed with vinegar.

4. Never use a pediculicidal lotion if you are not sure that your child is infested.

5. Tea tree oil does not repel them. There is no scientific evidence that tea tree oil serves as a lice repellent and, of course, it would never be so at the minimum doses recommended in “treatments” to avoid infestations but at much higher doses.

Furthermore, it is not free of adverse effects since it can have 3 types of effects: allergic, irritant or systemic. It is also not recommended for children under 3 years of age.

There are reported cases of undesirable adverse effects for its use. You can read, for example, about gynecomastia (developed breasts) in a 9-year-old boy in which his mother used drops of tea tree oil diluted in shampoo to prevent lice.

6. A child who has lice should not be prevented from going to class. We will have to inform the school that we have lice, but we should not prevent the child from going to class.

Octanediol: an effective repellent

You do have a repellent that has shown effectiveness: octanediol (Neositrin protect). It can be used from 12 months of age daily and without rinsing.

In search of lice

• Lice feed on human blood. When the females arrive, they lay 8 to 10 eggs (nits) that adhere firmly to the hair.

• After 8 or 10 days the eggs hatch And so, in 15 days since the first bug arrived you already have a head full of new adults ready to multiply.

Symptoms of lice

• Lice cause an allergic reaction that causes itching.

• We can see some whitish remains that are nits and that resemble dandruff but are much more attached than dandruff.

Pediculicidal lotions against lice

• Permethrin. Resistance problem, sometimes. From 2 months

• Dimethicone and cyclomethicone. Preferential use in asthmatics, atopics or those resistant to permethrin. Over 2 years old.

• Benzyl alcohol. From 6 months.

How to use:

1. They are applied, left on for 10 minutes and washed off.

2. We check the scalp daily with the nit trap.

3. We repeat the treatment in 7/10 days with the lotion.

What do we do with contaminated objects?

• The louse does not survive more than 1 or 2 days outside the host

• The ropa, towels and bed linen It should be washed with hot water.

• The combs and hair accessories Soak them for 10 minutes in the parasite lotion.

• What cannot be cleaned can be put in a plastic bag closed for two weeks.