Written by Imane Salameh
Translated by Rabab Housseiny
NNA - Lice and nits...a problem that has always accompanied men during their transportations, with the climate change, water scarcity, and the lack of a clean environment that would protect society members from illnesses and plights that might emerge every now and then.
All the aforementioned factors exacerbate the lice problem, amid the shortage of prevention means and treatment.
Locals in Sidon, as well as elsewhere in Lebanon, complain about this parasite overwhelming houses and public places without prior notice and attacking children rather than adults, especially that the climate in summer favors its spreading. Worth-mentioning, the spiraling number of Syrian refugees only adds to the tribulations of the Lebanese, who now have to bear water scarcity and power shortage, in addition to overcrowdedness and the high temperatures during this time of the year.
All this must incite social committees to exert efforts in order to prevent the aggravation of the lice problem, particularly as the scholastic year is about to start.
Nonetheless, it is convenient to take a closer look at the lice world to shed light on the damages caused by this parasite which lives on blood.
Lice and nits
Lice are parasites, grey wingless insects of a length between 2 and 4 mm. They nest on the scalp and crawl all over the head. They can also live on hair and cloths. Lice can live from three to four weeks and suck blood for 30 to 45 minutes, every three to six hours. Its eggs, called nits, are whitish and remain glued on the basis of the hair. One week later, a nit turns into lice.
Lice mostly infest kids; adults can be also infected. Lice cause itching of the scalp, neck, and the rear of the ear. Lesions are likely to get infected.
As to the anti-lice products, they dry the scalp.
Lice can live for almost 20 hours outside the scalp. Nits, for their part, remain viable for ten days. Therefore, the entire population of one house can be infested. Hats, bonnets, pillows, and hair brushes belonging to a person with lice must not be used by another person.
Treatment and prevention
In pharmacies, one can find anti-lice products and special combs with tightened teeth in pharmacies. They must be used daily in order to get full rid of nits.
One must also avoid contact with a person with lice, borrowing their cloths or accessories, or even hang cloths next to theirs. Girls' hair must remain tied up and boys' short. Sheets, towels, bonnets, and cloths must be washed on a high temperature, and brushes and combs must be washed on a daily basis, in addition to carpets and furniture.
Lastly, this parasite is capable of moving from one head to another. It does not transfer diseases and does not live on animals' hair. It doesn't even cause hair loss.
Each person risks to be infested at any time of the year.
Moreover, anti-lice products must be used moderately, since their overuse is likely to cause scalp dehydration and itching.