How to Deal with Head Lice
Every parent dreads that moment when their child comes home from school scratching their scalp. Head lice spreads easily and quickly, especially where people are in close contact. Unluckily for kids and parents, the recently repopulated schools and playgrounds are a veritable lice buffet.
What is head lice? They are tiny, wingless parasitic insects that live among human hair and feed on tiny amounts of blood that they draw from the scalp. Although they can be annoying to deal with, lice isn’t dangerous. Lice themselves don’t spread disease but scratching their bites can lead to infection (much like scratching any other bug bite can). We know there is a lot of misinformation out there about lice, so here are a few urban legends we want to dispel:
Mythbusters: Lice Edition
Myth #1: You are more likely to get head lice if your hair is dirty, you have bad personal hygiene habits or if your home is untidy.
Getting head lice has absolutely nothing to do with personal hygiene or the cleanliness of a home. Washing your hair will also not help get rid of lice or nits (lice eggs) since they stick to hair follicles.
Myth #2: Head lice prefers long hair.
Head lice doesn’t care if you have long hair, short hair, curly hair or straight hair. They love hair, period.
Myth #3: You can get head lice from pets.
Pets cannot get head lice from people and people cannot get it from pets.
Myth #4: Head lice spread by hopping and flying.
Lice can’t hop or fly. They can crawl, but they prefer to stay on human heads. Most can live no longer than 24 hours away from their food supply.
Now that we’ve got those out of the way, on to the fun stuff…or at least what everyone wants to know:
How to deal with lice once the pesky little bugs get into your house
Before treating only one member of the family – check everyone and then treat all those infected at once to avoid passing lice back and forth. You should also wash bedding and clothing used by anyone with lice within the 48 hours before treatment to kill any lice that may have jumped off. Although it isn’t necessary to extreme clean or quarantine all the toys and bedding, it is recommended. To save time, 20 minutes in the dyer should kill any lice on them.
- Use a head lice treatment like Holista Complete Head Lice Kit. This is a blend of naturally occurring enzymes used to aid in cleaning hair that have come into contact with head lice.
- Comb out the hair with a nit comb: Divide hair into sections. Starting at the scalp, pull the comb from the roots to the end of a section of hair. Swish the comb around in a bowl of warm, soap water. This will kill the lice and their eggs. Continue all the steps until all the hair has been combed. Sanitize the comb after each use.
- Monitor signs of life after. The Lice Shield Shampoo & Conditioner and Lice Shield Leave In Detangling Spray are great to maintain a lice free scalp. Check your child’s head once a week and if you receive a notice from school that there is a case of lice (pediculosis) in your child’s class, check twice a week for the next few weeks. If you do find lice, alert the school as well as anyone your child has had close contact with.
The beginning of a new school year is stressful enough without lice, but that’s often when outbreaks occur. The one thing to keep in mind is that lice happens and it’s not the end of the world for anyone. There is absolutely no need to panic if you know the facts. And now you do!