Head lice or Pediculus humanus capitis, attack as many as 12 million children every year. Lice are spread by direct contact with infested hair. Sharing combs, brushes, beds, and hats may also contribute to the spread of these parasites. Lice infestations in the U.S. are more frequent in girls and lead to stigma and absenteeism from school or day care.1, 2
The life cycle of a louse is divided into three stages. The female adult louse lays eggs (nits) that hatch after eight or nine days. The young louse (nymph) matures into adulthood within nine to twelve days. The adult louse usually lives about one month and feeds on human blood. Adult lice are usually tan to grey in color and two to three millimeters in length. Nits are usually yellow to white in color and are less than one millimeter in size. Lice typically die after one or two days without access to a blood meal. Lice do not appear to cause disease but subsequent bacterial infections may occur from scratching.
Signs and symptoms of head lice include tickling on the scalp, difficulty sleeping, and excessive scratching. Diagnosis can be difficult as a louse moves quickly and blends in with the hair shaft. Nits are typically found around 5 millimeters from the scalp during active infestations. All family members should be evaluated for lice if one child has an infestation.
Head lice during pregnancy and breastfeeding can be treated with pediculicides including permethrin, malathion, and ivermectin. There are studies providing evidence that these agents do not increase the risk of birth defects.3-5 They are also unlikely to pass into the milk of breastfeeding mothers in clinically relevant amounts. Permethrin is preferred for breastfeeding and pregnant mothers because it is non-toxic, and there is minimal absorption through the skin (<2%).6 However, at least one additional treatment is usually required to completely treat the infestation.
Newly approved Sklice Lotion (0. 5% ivermectin) may be used in children who are six months and older. A recent study has suggested that a single topical application of ivermectin kills most of the lice.7 The researchers found that 94.9% of ivermectin treated patients were louse free one day after application and there was significant reduction in itching between day one and day two in the ivermectin group, as compared with the control group. The proportion of head louse free patients in the ivermectin group was 85.2% on day eight and 73.8% on day fifteen. The continued efficacy of treatment with topical ivermectin two weeks after a single treatment suggests that this formulation has activity against louse eggs. Another recent laboratory study has also suggested this. In this study, ivermectin was applied to head louse ova and, although the ova subsequently hatched, all the released nymphs quickly died. The nymphal mortality was attributed to ivermectin induced mouthpart paralysis, which severely limited or completely prevented the nymphs from feeding. 8
Regardless of what medication is used, if any, some careful infection-control measures are necessary to prevent re-infestation. Ova can hide under fingernails and toenails, so careful cleaning and treatment of those areas is important. Wash bedding, clothes, and hats in hot water, and with a hot air cycle in the dryer. Items that cannot be laundered may be dry cleaned or placed in sealed, plastic bags for two weeks to allow time for all lice life cycles to be completed. Vacuuming floors and furniture to remove infested hair is also recommended.
Each involved member of the household should also take time to wet comb their hair. This is a mechanical removal of lice via straining with a fine-toothed comb. Metal combs seem to be more effective than plastic for this purpose. To perform this maneuver, the hair should be wet with an added lubricant such as hair conditioner or olive oil. The hair should be brushed or combed to remove tangles. Insert the comb near the crown of the head until it touches the scalp gently. Draw it firmly down and examine the comb for lice after each stroke. The entire head should be combed systematically at least twice. Repeat the combing until no lice are found in each session.
If no pediculicide is used, repeat sessions may be necessary every three to four days for several weeks. It is somewhat uncertain how effective wet combing is when used in place of topical insecticides. Existing studies have used flawed methodology and have produced contradictory results.
Sonia Shoukat, MD
Thomas W. Hale, Ph.D.
James Abbey, MD
Frankowski BL, Weiner LB, Committee on School Health the Committee on Infectious Diseases. American Academy of P. Head lice. Pediatrics. Sep 2002;110(3):638-643
Gordon SC. Shared vulnerability: a theory of caring for children with persistent head lice. The Journal of school nursing : the official publication of the National Association of School Nurses. Oct 2007;23(5):283-292
Kennedy D, Hurst V, Konradsdottir E, Einarson A. Pregnancy outcome following exposure to permethrin and use of teratogen information. American journal of perinatology. Feb 2005;22(2):87-90
Pacque M, Munoz B, Poetschke G, Foose J, Greene BM, Taylor HR. Pregnancy outcome after inadvertent ivermectin treatment during community-based distribution. Lancet. Dec 15 1990;336(8729):1486-1489
Thomas DC, Petitti DB, Goldhaber M, Swan SH, Rappaport EB, Hertz-Picciotto I. Reproductive outcomes in relation to malathion spraying in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1981-1982. Epidemiology. Jan 1992;3(1):32-39
Pariser DM, Meinking TL, Bell M, Ryan WG. Topical 0.5% ivermectin lotion for treatment of head lice. The New England journal of medicine. Nov 2012;367(18):1687-1693
Strycharz JP, Berge NM, Alves AM, Clark JM. Ivermectin acts as a posteclosion nymphicide by reducing blood feeding of human head lice (Anoplura: Pediculidae) that hatched from treated eggs. Journal of medical entomology. Nov 2011;48(6):1174-118
Natural Lice Treatments During Pregnancy
Lice are small insects that live on blood from the scalp. Transmission of lice generally occurs through direct contact because lice crawl but cannot fly or jump. Most commonly occurring in children, lice can be spread by sharing items such as hats, combs, brushes, hair accessories, towels, pillows, clothing, and headphones. The good news is that they do not carry viral or bacterial diseases. But you’ll want to give natural lice treatments a try since you’re pregnant.
Symptoms of lice include an itchy scalp, visible lice on the scalp, and nits (lice eggs) on hair shafts. Lice can be difficult to see as they are small, move quickly, and their nits tend to blend in with hair. You may not even realize you have lice. If it is your first time to have lice, it can take 2 to 6 weeks before you experience any itching.
One option for treating lice naturally is to use a fine-toothed nit comb to comb through wet hair. Make sure the hair is wet and lubricated with conditioner. Then, using a fine-toothed comb specifically for lice, comb through your hair from your scalp through the ends, making sure you comb through your entire head at least twice per session.
With each stroke through the hair, check the comb for any lice, and rinse them off. Repeat this every three days for a few weeks. Continue this process for two weeks after you no longer see any lice.
You can also try using essential oils such as tea tree oil, lavender oil, neem oil, clove oil, and eucalyptus oil. Keep in mind that these oils are not required to meet the same efficacy and safety standards as FDA-approved drugs. Prior to use, place a drop on the back of your hand to see if you are allergic to the oil. In rare cases, some individuals are allergic to certain essential oils.
To use, mix 15-20 drops of the essential oil with two ounces of olive oil. Apply to the scalp and hair, and let sit overnight for at least 12 hours. The following morning, comb through your hair, shampoo, rinse and repeat the treatment if necessary.
Other household products can be used to smother the lice. These include olive oil, butter, and mayonnaise. Simply apply the product to the hair and scalp, cover the hair with a shower cap, and let sit overnight.
Once you have treated your hair, you may want to clean various household items as well. While lice cannot survive more than one day without living near a scalp, cleaning certain items that have been used in the past couple of days may be beneficial. Wash clothes, bedding, and stuffed animals in hot water.
Clean any hair care items, such as brushes, combs, and hair accessories in hot water as well. You may want to vacuum the floor in addition to any upholstered furniture. Lastly, place any items that cannot be washed in a sealed plastic bag or container for two weeks.
How to Treat Lice during Pregnancy When Naturally Does Not Work
If natural remedies do not help, your next best option is over-the-counter lotions or sprays. These should be used only if you see a moving head louse. It is not recommended to use lice shampoos and crème rinses as they are not generally effective.
One lotion that has been approved for use by pregnant and breastfeeding women is 4% dimethicone lotion.
Carefully check the label of any other lice treatment products for warnings related to the use of the product if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist before using the product.
To use a lotion or spray, follow the instructions, which may vary depending on what kind of treatment you use. Make sure to cover the scalp through the ends of the hair, and let the treatment sit for the time specified in the directions. After three to five days, check the head for hatching eggs.
Then check again after 10-12 days. Lice treatments may not clear all louse eggs, so it is recommended to use at least two applications.
If the lice persist even after you use an over-the-counter lotion or spray, you may need to visit your doctor for a prescription. Your doctor may recommend medication such as benzyl alcohol (Ulesfia) or malathion (Ovide), both of which are safe to take during pregnancy but not while nursing.
Some medications, including lindane, are not safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women to take. Therefore, it is important to let your doctor know that you are pregnant so they can prescribe you the proper medication.
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Compiled using information from the following sources:
1. DeGrandpre, Z. (2013). Home remedies for head lice: What works?
During the period of expectation of a child, the female body becomes especially susceptible to various pathologies, including the penetration of parasites.
Pediculosis is a serious problem for the mother-to-be, since most medicines are not allowed to be used. And then the question of what and how to get rid of lice and nits during pregnancy becomes especially relevant.
Lice in pregnant women
How to remove lice from a pregnant woman without harm to her health is a rather complicated problem, but it can be solved. After all, lice cause concern both from a physical point of view and from a moral one, and when it comes to pregnancy, then everything is much more complicated.
Women in this period are suspicious and vulnerable, and such problems usually cause them a feeling of fear for the future baby, as well as a feeling of embarrassment and inconvenience. What to do if a pregnant woman has lice, you need to know in order to quickly and safely eliminate them. To do this, you can use some herbal preparations, mechanical means, as well as methods from traditional medicine.
Sources of infection
Danger of pediculosis during pregnancy
What means can be used from parasites during pregnancy
Medicines for lice
Tips for choosing a scallop
disease among children attending kindergartens and schools. Therefore, if a pregnant woman has an older child of this age, then you should check for the presence of parasites in him, and also notify educators or teachers about the problem in the team, if such an assumption is confirmed.
Other possible sources of infection:
Swimming pool, etc.
Attention! Infection with lice is possible only through close contact with the carrier of these parasites, or when using his personal belongings, such as a comb, towel, clothing, etc.
Read also: Lice in children: the main causes pregnancy
The presence of head lice causes intense itching, which makes the expectant mother very nervous and irritable. This negatively affects her well-being, disrupts normal sleep and appetite. Such stressful situations are contraindicated for pregnant women. Moreover, discomfort arises not only in the physical sense, but also in the psychological one, the very fact of the presence of insects in the hair causes a lot of negative emotions.
Risk of head lice during pregnancy
Another problem is the intensive scratching of the scalp until the appearance of wounds and damage through which infection can enter the body and develop inflammatory processes.
Therefore, it is important to keep your hands clean, cut your nails short and try not to scratch your head, as well as find out exactly how you can treat head lice in a pregnant woman, which remedy is the safest and most effective.
Which remedies can be used against parasites during pregnancy
Most medicines for head lice during pregnancy are contraindicated due to high toxicity, pungent odor, content of harmful substances that can penetrate the mother's body and, accordingly, the child through the placenta. Therefore, it is important to decide what exactly can be used to treat pediculosis in pregnant women so as not to harm health.
To do this, you can consult a doctor, try to comb out insects with a comb, or use traditional methods. However, among the drugs there are effective herbal remedies that are acceptable for use in women in an interesting position. Before using them, you should carefully read the instructions to make sure that there are no contraindications.
So, how to get rid of lice in a pregnant woman? There are three main ways:
Medicinal - safe drugs;
Mechanical - combing out parasites with a special comb;
Folk - with the help of improvised means.
Medicines for lice
Conventional medicines for nits and lice are contraindicated in pregnant women due to the concentration of active substances in them that have a toxic effect on the body. There are other drugs without the content of such components:
Oil preparation D-95.
Important! You can not use these drugs for pregnant women without the recommendation of a doctor, since there are no medicines that are absolutely safe for health.
The most harmless remedy for lice for pregnant women is the mechanical combing of parasites and their eggs with a special fine comb.
The procedure is carried out in stages:
Thoroughly wash your hair with shampoo, normal or anti-lice. If the hair is long, then it is advisable to cut it shorter.
Apply any vegetable oil to the hair to facilitate glide and simplify the procedure.
Tilt your head forward and begin to carefully comb the curls from the roots. In the process, you need to periodically rinse the comb to eliminate dead insects.
After combing, rinse your hair again with shampoo, after which you can rinse your hair with acidified vinegar water. This procedure should be carried out daily to shorten the treatment time.
The main advantage of mechanical elimination of parasites is the ability to remove not only adults, but also nits that are firmly attached to the hair and are resistant to many drugs.
Comb Selection Tips
Many people prefer using the comb as the safest, chemical-free maternity lice and nit remedy. The comb for combing out insects should be frequent, with special notches on the teeth made of medical steel. The name of the most popular head parasite comb is Antive.
RobiComb electronic comb for lice and nits
There are also more modern devices, such as the RobiComb electric comb, which is distinguished by the presence of a special detector for finding insects. When using it, when a louse gets into the teeth of the device, it starts to emit intermittent signals. Robocomb is very convenient for preventive checks, as well as for follow-up checks after head lice treatment.
Treatment of lice in a pregnant woman is desirable to carry out folk methods in combination with mechanical combing. But it must be borne in mind that not all means can be used by expectant mothers. For example, hellebore water against lice, kerosene is contraindicated.
The most effective recipes:
Treat the head with freshly squeezed cranberry juice, rub it thoroughly into the roots, spread over the entire length of the hair, put on a plastic cap. You can wash it off after a few hours, then comb out the immobile parasites with a comb.
Soak hair with apple cider vinegar or grape vinegar, minding the scalp, then put on a polyethylene cap. Wash off after 3-3.5 hours.
Periodically wash your hair not with shampoo, but with laundry or tar soap.
Pass the onion head through a meat grinder, mix with vegetable oil and apply this mixture on the head, wrap with polyethylene. After an hour, you can wash off and get rid of dead insects.
Lighten or simply recolor your hair.
Take a little olive oil, add a few drops of lavender, geranium and tea tree essential oils to it, then carefully treat the entire head and hair with the resulting composition, paying special attention to the area behind the ears, the back of the head and temples.
Prepare a decoction of bitter wormwood, apply it to the hair and scalp for one hour.
Pour boiling water over burdock leaves, cool, mix with essential oils (geranium, lavender) and apply to hair, put on a plastic cap. Wash off after 1.5 hours.
Spray head with hydrogen peroxide diluted with water.
Every day, style your hair with a flat iron. Insects are killed by exposure to high temperatures.
Rub parsley juice on the scalp.
Prepare a decoction of wild rosemary with the addition of bitter wormwood, treat the entire scalp and wrap it with plastic wrap. Wash off after 2 hours.
Apply Vaseline to your hair, put on a cap and go to bed. In the morning, wash your hair and remove dead insects.
Wash hair with dust soap.
Bring pomegranate juice with mint leaves to a boil, treat skin and hair.
Pass a few lemons through a meat grinder, pour boiling water, cool and rub into the scalp, distribute through the hair.
Lice in pregnant women, unfortunately, are common, and it is very important to get rid of them in time. But before using this or that remedy, it is necessary to consult with your doctor in order to prevent possible consequences for the unborn child. This is especially true for women prone to allergic reactions, as well as patients with a weakened immune system.
Pediculosis and its prevention | Women's consultation №40
Pediculosis or lice is a specific parasitism on a person of lice that feed on his blood.
The incidence of head lice tends to increase as a result of social and natural upheavals, leading to disruption of normal life and a sharp deterioration in the sanitary and hygienic standard of living of the population. In recent years, there has been a tendency to reduce the incidence of pediculosis in the population as a whole, however, the incidence of pediculosis in students of educational institutions is significant. The incidence of pediculosis in schoolchildren is associated with the insufficient development of sanitary and hygienic skills in children and closer communication with each other, as well as the detection of pediculosis among this contingent, associated with the examination of children for preventive purposes for pediculosis.
The main symptoms of pediculosis are: itching accompanied by scratching and, in some people, allergies; coarsening of the skin from massive lice bites and exposure to insect saliva on the dermis; melasma - pigmentation of the skin due to tissue hemorrhages and inflammation caused by exposure to insect saliva; a tangle is a rather rare phenomenon that occurs when scratching the head - the hair gets tangled, sticks together with purulent-serous secretions, which dry up in crusts on the head, and under them there is a weeping surface.
The risk group consists of people working in the service sector (in hairdressers, baths, laundries, transport, medical institutions, etc. ). Head lice in the vast majority affects children of school age, but clothes - people who do not have a permanent place of residence, leading a hectic lifestyle.
Three types of lice parasitize on humans - head, clothes, pubic. Body lice and head lice are carriers of pathogens of typhus, Volyn fever and relapsing fever. Body lice represent the greatest epidemic danger. A person becomes infected with typhus when the secretions of an infected louse enter the wounds in the places of combing after a bite or when crushing an insect. The pubic louse has practically no epidemic significance, however, just like body lice and head lice, it causes great concern to a person, causing itching and leading to the risk of various pustular skin diseases.
How to prevent pediculosis?
washing head and body with hot water and soap - at least once every 7 days;
change of bed and underwear - at least 1 time in 7 days and as it gets dirty;
washing clothes with boiling and subsequent ironing with a hot iron;
regular haircut, combing of head hair;
weekly examinations for pediculosis of all family members;
systematic cleaning of outerwear, clothes;
a complete ban on the use of someone else's underwear, clothes, hats, combs and other personal hygiene items;
regular cleaning of premises, keeping furnishings clean;
before wearing, pre-wash or iron new clothes, hats with a hot iron.
If lice are found at any stage (egg, larva, adult insect), extermination measures should be carried out simultaneously, destroying lice directly both on the human body and on his underwear, clothes and other things.
Lice control measures include three methods of extermination of insects:
Mechanical method - with a slight infestation of people with head lice (from 1 to 10 specimens, including eggs), combing out insects and eggs with a fine comb, cutting and shaving hair, followed by burning (if minor head lice infestation).
Physical method - soaking, boiling linen in a 2% solution of soda ash for 15 minutes, ironing with a hot iron on both sides of the seams, folds, belts of linen and clothes that are not subject to boiling (with a slight head lice infestation).
The chemical method - sanitation of pediculosis is currently based on the use of pediculicides-insecticides that act on lice and nits. This treatment is repeated after 7 days. After processing and washing the hair of the head, they are rinsed with a warm 5-10% aqueous solution of acetic acid. Since dead nits remain on the hair, they need to be combed out with a comb, picked out with your hands. To prevent the spread of pediculosis (head lice are able to move on to clothes and the environment around a person), after sanitation is completed, it is necessary to carry out disinsection of premises and furnishings: irrigate with an aqueous solution of pediculicide, withstand exposure (according to the instructions for use). Ventilate the room thoroughly. Remove pediculicide residues from treated objects and surfaces by wet cleaning in the usual way.
Prevention and control of head lice is a reliable means of preventing typhus. In order to prevent pediculosis, it is necessary to regularly examine all family members for pediculosis at home. If pediculosis is found in one of the family members, it is necessary to make sure that the rest are not infected.
For the purpose of prevention, it is recommended that all family members undergo treatment at the same time and for a month to conduct examinations of the scalp for the presence of pediculosis.