Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears illustrates how head lice start as a nit and grow to the size of a sesame seed.
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Treatment and Remedies for Head Lice Dr. Jim Sears: I actually have some lice right here, Lisa. Lisa: Okay, you know what, just keep those over there. Just keep them on over there. Male 1: Let me see. Dr. Jim Sears: I’ll show you. I’ve got this cool camera here. I’m going to open them up here. This shows one myth about lice. Lice don’t jump. They don’t fly. They don’t jump. They can only crawl. So unless I stick my head into this Petri dish, I’m not going to get the lice. It’s not worth it. Male 2: So, it has to be direct contact then? Dr. Jim Sears: Direct contact. The lice will crawl into your hat. You share your hat with somebody then you’ll get the lice. But they’re not going to jump. They’re not going to jump into you. And these things were about the size of a sesame seed. They’re pretty small. So sometimes they could be hard to see. Male 1: Are they just feeding on the scalp? Dr. Jim Sears: Yeah, exactly and that’s a good point. Lice can’t live for more than two days off of the scalp. So I actually got these from Hair Fairies yesterday, and they’re already starting to kind of fizzle out. Lisa: You see, you can tell, those like darker because some people worry they won’t be able to tell dandruff from lice. Dr. Jim Sears: The way to tell that is lice will lay the eggs, right? And that’s what looks like dandruff, they’re called nits, and they look like little grains of sand but they’re going to be stuck to the hair shaft. Dandruff just kind of you flick it and it falls out. But the nits, the lice eggs actually are stuck. You must have to pull them along the hair shaft to get them off. And another myth of about lice is that they’re dirty. They carry diseases. You’re not going to catch anything from lice except for more lice. Treatment, now what to do about this? You know there’s a lot of different medications and shampoos you can use. A lot of the chemical stuff is kind of losing its power because lice are becoming resistant to it. So what’s becoming more effective or what’s called the “dismothering remedies.” Things like that basically smother the lice. They keep them from breeding, things like mayonnaise, Vaseline. Just put it in your hair, leave it on for a few hours, and wash it out. This is a great non-toxic remedy of lice. Basically, it’s a very oil gel kind of thing. You put it in the hair, leave it there for a while. The combing out of the hair is tedious. It takes a long time. That’s why a lot of parents like to go -- Oh, my gosh, they’re gone. There’s a few missing. I’m kidding. That’s why some parents will say, “You know I don’t want to sit there and comb my child’s hair for an hour or two so I’ll go to like a salon like Hair Fairies or something.” Let the professionals do it. Male 1: Alright, Dr. Sears, what’s your home address?