Head Lice or most commonly known as “Kuto” here in the Philippines, is one of the common problems affecting and infesting mostly of preschool and school-age children. In these age group, they usually don’t have or maybe just a very slight knowledge when it comes to hygiene and risks of contamination. Also, we know that kids love playtime, and more playtime for them means more child-to-child contact. So imagine how fast head lice infestation(Pediculosis) and transmission can be from one child to another.
Adults are not safe as well for this kind of infestation. I, myself had this kind of experience when I was in highschool. I believe I got it from the neighborhood parlor where I had my haircut. You know these parlors, they use the same comb, brush, hair accessories to one person after another. So imagine, if one customer is infested with head lice, the few next customers might have an infestation as well.
Before anything else, here are some facts about Head Lice that we need to know:
- A louse can move very quickly up to 30 cm/min, which makes them difficult to catch.
- Have 6 claws that allow them to grip onto the hair.
- A common misconception when it comes to head lice are- they can jump, fly or swim. NOT TRUE!. They just crawl.
- Head lice eggs are called “nits” or “lisa”.
- Baby lice are called “nyphs” or “kumad”
- Head lice usually survives for less than two(2) days away from the scalp at normal room temperature and eggs cannot hatch at an ambient temperature lower than that of the scalp.
- Most often found on warmer areas of the head such as behind ears, back of the neck and neck.
- Each adult female deposits 3-10 nits(eggs) per day which hatches after 7-10 days.
- Nymphs take 7-10 days to grow and become an adult
- Nymphs and adults feed on blood several times a day.
- Adult can live up to 30 days.
Who is at risk for getting head lice?
EVERYONE IS AT RISK. Those who come in close contact with someone with head lice are very prone of acquiring it. – their contaminated clothing and other belongings such as hair brush, hair accessories, hats, scarves, even on a bed, couch, pillow, carpets and many more!-Literally on any surfaces. I’ll leave it with your imagination.
What are the Symptoms?
- Tickling sensation. Feeling of there’s something crawling on your head.
- Itching or scratching in the affected area.
- Sores on the head
- Intense scratching may lead to secondary skin infections (for example, impetigo) and associated enlargement of the lymph nodes of the neck and scalp regions.
- Some people have no symptoms.
Effects of Head Lice Infestation
- Scalp Irritation
- Bacterial infection
- Embarassment or shame
Treatment is only advised ONLY if Lice or live nits are found. So here are some treatments that you can actually use and do:
- Daily combing using nit comb(suyod)to remove lice and nits.
- Apply medicated shampoos containing pyrethrins or permethrin like KWELL Shampoo. Make sure to follow the dose and direction according to label instructions.
How to use Permethrin (Kwell) Shampoo:
- Shake the bottle/open the sachet. Place an ample amount of Permethrin (Kwell) shampoo and lather it in the hair thoroughly. Make sure that all parts of the head, hair and scalp and even the back of the ears and neck are treated.
- Leave for 10 minutes and wash thoroughly after.
- Dry the hair by using a towel.
If other members of the family have lice, treat them as well with Permetrhin (Kwell) to avoid the spread of lice.
Permethrin (Kwell) also is more economical. Use it once to get rid of lice then repeat after 7 days to make sure that no nits have been left and that’s it. No need to do maintenance washes. Kaya, Sa Permethrin (Kwell), Isang Hugas. Kuto Todas!
In light of the above, Aspen Philippines – maker of KWELL Shampoo, has launched “Kwella sa Es-Kwella at Komunidad” program.The said program is intended to raise awareness on the causes and eradication and prevention of head lice among children & family members. The project’s objective is to assist more parents, school administrators, teachers, guardians and community staff in propagating proper head hygiene among Filipino families.
KWELL is available in selected drugstores nationwide. Available in two variants: Kwell Permethrine Shampoo for head lice and Kwell Permethrine cream for scabies.