Eye on Health: Head lice - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Eye on Health: Head lice

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-- Head lice are a common problem for children.

While they are harmless, they are becoming more difficult to get rid of.

Sophie and Bennett Orenstein were scratching their heads for at least a month before their parents knew there was a problem.

Their mother Stephanie Kaster says, "One morning, I went to wake Sophie up and stroking her hair, found a bug."

The source of their discomfort? Head lice. These little crawlers had lodged themselves into 7-year-old Bennett's hair. The little boy had been carrying 500 eggs and it quickly spread to the rest of his family.

"It was itchy. It was um, it felt weird," says Bennett.

Even weirder, was the fact that over the counter remedies they used did not work.

"After we put it in her hair, she still had lice in her hair," says Kaster.

Dr. Gabrielle Von-Simson, who treated the Orensteins, says these parasites have developed a resistance to over the counter medication and may not disappear with one application.

"What I recommend is the manual mechanical removal of the active lice," says Dr. Von-Simson.

It's a tedious and unpleasant task, but Dr. Von-Simson says it's the best way to get rid of lice.

Olive oil and a fine tooth comb is what finally gave Sophie and Bennett some relief.

"Well it was kinda gross because they had to put all that stuff in my hair, but when they got it all out it was much better," says Sophie.

Once you rid your head of lice, you must also wash all your bed linens and towels as well as hats and hairbrushes. Items that can't be washed can be stored in a plastic bag for two weeks.

"It is not a public health hazard. It is not life threatening. It does not cause infections. It does not communicate disease, and you're gonna get through it," says Dr. Von-Simson.

And after they got through it, Sophie and Bennett now follow a new set of rules.

"Don't share people's hats and other stuff that's in their hairs," says Sophie.

Doctors say the best prevention is frequent head checks.

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