It is common to see children, especially those who attend school or kindergarten, at some point have pediculosis, that is, they are infected with lice. Mothers are scared because they can infect the rest of the family, but above all they worry if at home there are mothers who are breastfeeding. How to deal with this contagion? Can treatment affect breast milk and therefore the baby who receives it?
These small animals (they measure around 2.5mm), need to feed on human blood several times a day, so they are not able to survive outside the human body for more than two days. Contrary to what is often believed, they do not fly or jump, but they do move quickly from one hair to another when they are dry.
They are not synonymous with poor hygiene, since female lice prefer clean hair to deposit their eggs there, very close to the scalp (3-4mm), together with a water-insoluble substance, similar to a gelatinous gray glue. Being close to human heat and humidity makes incubation easier.
The most frequent symptom is itching on the scalp, behind the ears, on the nape and crown, but it may take 4-6 weeks from the arrival of the first invader. It can also cause headaches, discomfort, and irritability.
They are easily spread through direct contact between people, therefore, those around a person who has nits (louse larvae) or adult lice, probably also have them. Many moms with school-age children are also contaminated.The alarm arises when the youngest brother and his mother are at home, who is still breastfeeding him. They always think of a natural treatment that is harmless to the body.
In children under 2 months (if the infant also has lice or nits), the application of any product is not recommended. For them, there is only the alternative of manual removal, if you have little hair, or mechanical removal, in cases of more abundant hair.
The mechanical method consists of combing it with a special comb, called a lendrera, which has a very narrow gap between its teeth in order to extract the lice from the hair. The hairstyle should be done, with damp hair, for about 15 minutes and repeated every two days for two weeks. This method also applies in the case of people with contraindications to drug treatments, allergies or toxicity (pregnant women).
In addition to these methods, for the nursing mother, drug treatment is available. Although there is a wide variety of products on the market that offer effective action against lice, it is important that you know that permethrin is the substance for which more information and studies are known about its effectiveness, so it is recommended to purchase a product that contains it in a concentration of 1%. It has poor systemic absorption and is considered safe during lactation.
Sometimes, this substance is contained in the product, mixed with other components, generally with piperonyl butoxide which, although it enhances the effect of the first substance, is considered risk 1 during breastfeeding. Although there is little chance of it getting into milk, it is best to choose a product that only contains permethrin and is not combined with other substances.
A second application of the treatment is recommended 7 to 10 days after the first, since these products are not 100% ovicidal, that is, they do not eliminate all the eggs or larvae during the first application. It is also recommended that the mother keep her hair tied up during the days of treatment, to prevent the baby from touching it. and is in contact with this substance.
As a preventive measure, it is important to check children's hair frequently and, if the presence of lice is detected, treat everyone at home and notify the place or institution they attend, for the simultaneous review and treatment of children .
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