August 2, 2011
Body Lice (Crabs)
What are body lice (crabs)?
Lice are tiny insects that live in human hair. They hatch from small eggs, called nits. They attach themselves to the base of hair anywhere on the body. The eggs hatch in about 10 days. Since they multiply fast, they must be treated fast.
How do you get lice?
Lice can be spread in many ways. Physical contact with someone who has lice is one way. Using some personal items can spread lice. Borrowing a comb, brush, hat, scarf or head covering can spread lice. Sharing towels or bedding can also spread lice.
What to do:
All family members and close friends should be checked for lice.
(Use the shampoo or lotion suggested by your doctor or pharmacist) You do not need a prescription for the shampoo or lotion. It can be bought at any pharmacy. Check with the pharmacist.
- Lice eggs show up best in sunlight.
- Infested people and family members should be treated.
- Other close friends found to have lice should be treated.
- Pregnant women, children under one year of age, and people allergic to ragweed should check with a doctor before using the special shampoo or lotion for lice.
Prevent spread of lice:
- Lice are not dislodged by water or regular shampoo.
- Carefully read and follow directions.
- Remove dead lice and nits with a fine tooth comb. A baby comb works best. Use fingernails to pull off stubborn nits.
- To prevent reinfestation, put on clean clothing and change bedding after shampooing.
- Shampoo again with the special lice shampoo seven (7) days later.
Disinfection of personal articles /environment:
- Any person with lice must remain at home one day to shampoo and remove the nits.
- You may return to school or work when there is no evidence of live lice or nits.
This information is provided only as an informational resource for consumers. For advice regarding a specific medical condition, please consult your personal physician.
- Wash all clothing, towels and bed linens used by the person in the last month. Wash in hot water. In a dryer, use high heat for at least 20 minutes. This will destroy the nits.
- Dry-clean clothing that is not washable. Place in a plastic bag labeled “lice infested.”
- Personal clothing can be disinfected by sealing in a plastic bag for two weeks.
- Combs and brushes should be soaked for one hour in Lysol solution (2 Tablespoons of Lysol in one quart of water).
- Thoroughly vacuum carpets, mattresses, upholstered furniture and car upholstery.
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