Head lice infestations are an all too common problem for families with young children. This is because they are often difficult to get rid of, yet extremely easy to catch. Lice are most common among school-aged children, and are easily passed from one child to the entire classroom. When faced with head lice, many parents are at a loss at how to treat this problem and, just as importantly, protect their children from contracting head lice in the future.
Symptoms of head lice include an itchy scalp and neck, as well as swelling and redness to the bites of the lice. Although lice do not spread disease, they are an uncomfortable nuisance. Having head lice can also be embarrassing due to the common misconception that those who catch it are somehow unclean. This is simply not true! Anyone, no matter their hygiene habits, can catch lice.
When dealing with head lice, it's important to treat the problem as quickly as possible. Lice lay eggs, called nits, at an alarming rate. The eggs then hatch and the life cycle begins all over again. Within the span of a couple days, one or two lice can lead to a full-blown infestation.
To begin treatment, a solution that kills lice and their eggs is essential. These products are sold over the counter in most drug stores, and usually treat the problem quickly and effectively. Lice solution kits also typically contain all the equipment you'll need for ridding your child of those pesky lice, including a follow-up dose of solution and a lice comb. Other lice treatments include shampoos and oils that will prevent recurrence infestations.
First of all, rinse your child's head and scalp with the solution. Have your child sit in a chair in a well-lit room where you are able to see clearly. Lice eggs are extremely small and often hard to see. With the lice comb, comb your child's hair in rows from the scalp to the ends. The dead lice and nits will collect on the teeth of the lice comb, which should be rinsed between rows. Afterward, wash your child's hair in lice-preventing shampoo.
Do not forget to wash or replace bedding, as well as towels and any clothing that came into contact with your child's hair. A follow-up dose of lice solution is recommended a couple weeks after the initial treatment, as well as regular washings with lice-preventing shampoo.
Also, it's a good idea to talk with your child and educate him on ways he can prevent head lice. These ways include not sharing hats and clothing, as well as storing these articles in a backpack instead of in the class cloak room. If head lice keep coming back, voice your concerns to your child's teacher or principal and, together, try to come up with a solution to the problem.