How to Prevent and Treat Head Lice
Kids are more prone to head lice than adults, especially when school is in session. Their close proximity to others, and the possibility of swapping hats and scarves, increase the chance of spreading lice. The good news is that you can prevent the spread by following these tips:
Head Lice Prevention
- Any child that is discovered to have head lice should not be sent home from school immediately. The infestation should be treated as soon as it is apparent and the child should be allowed to return to school the next day.
- Check close contacts such as friends and family members the child was in touch with to see if they have signs of head lice.
- There is no need to treat the entire house for head lice just because one of your children has them.
- Clean all combs and brushes with hot water and detergent to disinfect them. This should also get rid of any nits that might be left on the combs.
- Wash all linens in hot water or steam dry it in the dryer on the hot setting. This should be done for at least 20 minutes to get rid of any remaining lice and nits.
- Avoid hair to hair contact especially during the summer when head lice breed faster.
- Avoid sharing headgear such as hats and scarves and clothing such as hair ribbons, uniforms, coats, and barrettes.
- Do not share towels and brushes used by an infested person. Your child should have his/her own linens as well till the lice are gone. Those should then be washed once the infestation ends.
- Clothing and items belonging to your child that cannot be deep cleaned should be sealed in a plastic bag for 2 weeks. That is enough time to suffocate any remaining lice.
- Vacuum the floor and the furniture that the person has been in contact with. There is no need to hire a cleaning service for this as it won’t prevent a re-infestation.
Head Lice Treatment
A fine-toothed metal comb can be used to get lice and nits from hair strands. All you need to do is section the hair and start combing. However, the eggs might have to be picked by hand as they are difficult to remove.
Use an over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medication and follow the instructions provided. Do not use a conditioner before using lice medicine, and do not rewash the hair for 1–2 days after the lice medicine is removed.
At Glen Allen Pediatrics our goal is to make parents and their children comfortable and welcome. If your child has a head lice infestation we can help, so book an appointment today. Dial 804-282-4210.