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Head Lice: Prevention and Treatment

By: Brandy Ring

As school is back in session we all have the fear of our child catching head lice from being around other children at school. Head lice is spread through direct head to head contact. Lice can also live on clothing or personal items such as hats, scarves, hair brushes, and hair accessories….so with that being said, lice can spread by obviously sharing some items. First, let’s talk about prevention and then what to do if you suspect you have a case.

As a mother, I know how dreadful it would be to receive a note stating my child has been identified as having a case of head lice. Not only can it be embarrassing for the child but it can be a bit pricey to treat if not done correctly. Knowing the precautionary actions needed to help prevent your child from catching head lice is tremendously helpful. Be sure to talk to your children about prevention. In fact, it is best practice that we all use these helpful tips.

  1. Do not share personal items for example, hats, scarves, towels, headsets or earbuds.
  2. Avoid activities which use head to head contact.
  3. Place long hair in ponytail or restrain. Be sure to use a small amount of spray so it will help to keep loose hair in.
  4. Be sure to watch out for shared spaces. For example, shared lockers, desks, et. can be a breeding ground for lice.

If you or your child does happen to catch head lice, knowing the steps to get rid of it are a MUST!

  1. Use an over the counter lice treatment medication; this should be in a form of shampoo.
  2. Be sure to follow the package directions. By not doing so could cause you to spend more time and money in getting the proper treatment.
  3. Make sure you comb the hair very well, in fact….comb and re-comb! You need to get out as many eggs and nits as possible.
  4. Know that you will more than likely need a second treatment.
  5. Wash all worn clothing and bedding in hot water within 48 hours. You can put stuffed animals in the dryer for 30 minutes to kill any little critters on them.
  6. Be sure to boil combs, hair brushes, and any other hair accessories as well.
  7. Finally, you will need to purchase and over the counter lice spray to use on furniture, mattresses, the seats of your car, etc.

Prevention is the key! Remember to use best practice and if exposed and treatment is necessary, follow the above guidelines. Also, think of others and remember to take precautions to avoid the spread!