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Martha Jefferson Monday: What Happens if you get Lice? - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Monday: What Happens if you get Lice?

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Lice are small little bugs that feed on human hair. Children are most commonly affected by lice and one in every four will be diagnosed during their elementary school years. Typically, girls are affected more than boys, likely due to the longer length of their hair.  

"They'll itch around the ears and they'll itch at the base of the neck and you'd just think it was a nervous itch," said Dr. Kathy Phan, a physician at Forest Lakes Family Medicine.  

Dr. Phan says the itching is caused by the saliva of the lice as they bite the scalp. They lice can also lay eggs, called nits, and when they open up, more lice are added to the problem.  

"You would be surprised at how many lice you see on kids," commented Dr. Phan.  

For adult, the problem isn't as common. 

"You don't see it much in adults," said Dr. Phan.  "You see it in kids because they are playing closely together, or you'll even see it because they are hanging their coats up in the cubbies and the lice will jump from coat to coat."  

Leaving lice untreated is uncomfortable and will ultimately make it harder to eliminate.  

Dr. Phan says over the counter treatment options are available and involved a simple washing regiment that can be done at home.  

"The treatment is essentially a type of pesticide you put on your scalp," remarked Dr. Phan.
"You have the child wash their hair and then towel dry it and then put the pesticide on for 10 minutes and then wash it out."

For more information on this topic, call Health Connection at (434) 654-7009.

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