ADHD: A Parenting Guide

Tips For Preventing And Treating Lice

The idea of lice can strike fear into the bravest of parents, and for good reason. While these little bloodsuckers aren't deadly, they can be a real pain to deal with and get rid of completely. The beginning of the school year is often when the threat of lice appears. Knowing how to prevent an infestation in your home should be your first line of defense. The following tips can help.

Tip #1: Discourage headware sharing

Lice is often passed between children because they share items that end up being infested. Make it a habit that certain things aren't shared – even within the home. This includes combs and brushes, hair accessories, hats and scarves, towels, and earphones or ear buds. If a child is accustomed to never sharing or borrowing these items, even amongst family, then they are even less likely to share them at school. Also, make sure the school has a no-share policy in place and that kids aren't expected to share even computer headphones unless they have been disinfected by a teacher.

Tip #2: Encourage healthy hair habits

Lice are less likely to infest clean, well-cared for hair – although clean hair is not immune. You may also want to make sure that long hair is kept in a ponytail or braid to minimize the chances of lice contact. Make sure to wash your child's hair daily before they go to bed. This night time ritual doesn't just keep the hair clean; it gives you a chance to perform a quick inspection for lice so you can find it early before a full infestation takes hold. If you see actual adult lice or the small white eggs attached to the hair follicles, you know it is time for treatment.

Tip #3: Use a lice comb

A lice comb is a fine tooth comb used to brush out nits, also known as lice eggs. Comb your child's hair with a lice comb after their bath so that you can carefully check for nits. This is especially important if there is currently a lice outbreak at the school.

Tip #4: Treat promptly

If you find signs of lice in your child's hair, act quickly. Begin a lice treatment immediately and continue to use the lice comb several times a day to remove nits. Every person in the family should be treated. Wash all bedding and clothing that may have been exposed to the lice and dry the items in a hot dryer. Brushes, combs, and hair clips should be replaced or disinfected in the dishwasher or with a bleach solution. Vacuum carpets and furniture and dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic sack.

By being proactive and acting quickly if you do find lice, you can make these pests a minor nuisance instead of a major hassle.