What's Going Around: head lice - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

What's Going Around: head lice

Dr. Albert Richert, Jr. with The Pediatric Center says he's seeing more children with head lice. (Source: KPLC) Dr. Albert Richert, Jr. with The Pediatric Center says he's seeing more children with head lice. (Source: KPLC)
CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) -

What's Going Around this week will have you scratching your head. Kids are being seen in higher numbers for head lice and some of these bugs are resistant to over-the-counter treatments.

When you see a tiny mover on your child's scalp, it is time to take some action against what Dr. Albert Richert, Jr. with The Pediatric Center says can be an active army of lice.

"The female louse lives about a month, but during that month she can lay seven to ten eggs a day," said Dr. Richert.  "Those eggs will hatch in about eight days and you'll have little baby lice and those lice start feeding and growing and it causes itching."

That itching is the biggest sign you have lice.  It is an allergic reaction and is usually experienced a few weeks after your initial exposure.

"It can happen to rich people, poor people.  It can happen in small dirty houses or big clean houses.  It can happen in old dirty schools or in brand new clean schools.  It can happen to anybody, anytime," said Dr. Richert.

Lice is most common in school settings where children are more prone to be in shared, close spaces.

"There might be rarely some spread through things like shared combs or brushes," said Dr. Richert.  "Maybe through hats or scarves, but we think that most are spread direct-direct, head-to-head contact."

Do not panic if your child has lice.  Go for over-the-counter treatments first.

"I usually recommend either Rid or Nix," said Dr. Richert.  "The important thing is to follow directions and use it correctly.  Most treatment failures are caused by people not using it correctly."

If there are still live lice eight to twelve hours after treatment, Doctor Richert says it could be a drug-resistant bug and you will need a prescription medication.

Lice can only live for two days off a person's scalp.

Wash exposed bedding, clothes, and towels in hot water to kill any lice.  It is not necessary to take down curtains or buy lice spray, which is not proven to work.

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