Head Lice And Children
Over the past 100 years, medical research has found a cure for almost all of the most dangerous childhood illnesses. Children no longer need die from measles, mumps or polio. However, some complaints still persist - the common cold and head lice are two still to be conquered.
The human louse, a small bug that lives on human blood, causes head lice. Similar in nature to bugs that infect animals like fleas and ticks, the louse can live only on humans and is only able to hang on to places with hair, thus we see lice on humans most commonly as pubic lice and head lice.
There are many reasons for children being more vulnerable to lice infestation. This doesn't mean to say that children are shabby. Only that, their behavior and the activities that form a major part of their daily lives makes them more susceptible to lice. Children offer share their hats and toys which come into direct contact with their hair, a possible way of spreading lice. Unlike adults, children like to cuddle to each other which magnifies the probability of lice infestation.
Just like common cold, lice can be easily treated and is a minor annoyance. There are many delousing shampoos available in the market. The shampoos on the regular application for few days kill the lice and prevent the eggs from hatching. You also have to comb the hair with a fine- tooth comb to remove lice eggs.
Lice do not cause any blood infection. In reality, unlike other blood sucking insects, lice are harmless to humans from a medical perspective. The irritating itch they cause is the only major annoyance. If we are somehow able to ignore that itching, there is hardly any harm caused by lice.
Still, lice are annoying, so people are always searching for ways to keep them at bay. In children, schools and daycares have changed some of their practices in order to prevent the spread of lice. For example, naps no longer occur with children lying on mats on the floor. Rather, the children often place their heads on their desk and sleep with at least a foot of separation. Also, parents discourage their children from sharing hats or putting other children's toys near their heads, further reducing the chances of spreading lice.
The problem of head lice will continue to exists, primarily in children in close contact, till we change our outlook towards it. Head lice being a minor nuisance has not bothered individuals and society, in general. Even with modern sanitation and regular cleaning, people do not consider the existence of head lice as a major threat. They are satisfied with simple treatments. For a permanent solution to this problem, we need to take up drastic steps towards complete eradication of head lice, as in case of small pox and polio.
With all of the other medical advances of the past century, head lice and pubic lice are still with us. The human louse responsible for lice survives on human blood and lives in areas with hair. Lice transfers easily between people, even those with good hygiene, and although not dangerous, having lice is annoying. Children are at greater risk of getting lice because they have more close contact with other children while playing or sharing things like hats. When preventing lice fails, delousing or using a fine-tooth comb are methods used to get rid of lice, and these will just have to do it's eradicated someday.
Published May 30th, 2007