This poor girl had the worst case of head lice I have ever seen. This is what the “nits” (eggs) look like, but I actually saw a couple of live adult lice. The poor kid and her mom were frustrated because they couldn’t get the dandruff off of her hair.
After we discharged them, everyone in the ER had itching fits. One person would itch their head, someone else would see them and say “stop it!” Before long everyone was itching their heads. Then everyone had to check each other’s scalps like a bunch of little monkeys to make sure that none of the lice had jumped from the room to a passerby to the nursing station, crawled up someone’s sleeve, and secretly attached to their scalp. A real-life example of the term “nit-picking”
(picture credit to http://blog.erck.org/?cat=21)
How to treat lice?
Most medications don’t kill the “nits,” they only kill the mature “hatched” lice, which aren’t much bigger than the nits, but are harder to see. The live lice are slow-moving and about the size of a sesame seed. Medications therefore have to be reapplied in seven days to get all of the lice that have hatched since the last treatment. You have to comb through the hair with a fine-toothed comb to remove all of the nits from the hair shafts.
Wash clothes and bedding covers in hot water and vacuum the house and you should be fine.
For a guide from the CDC on treating head lice, click here. A good Wikipedia article on head lice is here.
Now stop itching.