- Kids Health
How to Prevent Head Lice
Head lice is possibly the most aggravating thing that will happen to your family this year. And if not this year, then probably next year. The pesky little creatures creep from head to head any place where people, especially little people, congregate. If your kids are in childcare or school, be on the lookout! The best defense is a good offense.
Easy Ways to Keep Lice at Bay
Ever wonder why grown-ups don't get lice? Aside from usually not sharing hats, headphones, and snuggling up to the same stuffed toys, we put all kinds of stuff on our hair. Turns out lice like clean, naked, and preferably fluffy, hair to deposit their eggs on. (It's SO not a cleanliness thing! Lice especially don't like greasy hair because their eggs won't stick.) All that thickening gel, root lifter, and hairspray we use keep the lice from taking up residence on our heads. So keep lice off your kids by sprucing up junior's ‘do with a bit of product.
Long hair should keep hair contained as much as possible, either cut short or pulled back in braids or pig tails. It may not be the fashion, but you want your kids' hair to have little opportunity to come into contact with anybody else's.
Teach kids not to share. How counter-intuitive is that? It's hard to tell kids not to share hats, clothes, and towels, but you'll be happy you did.
A lot of people have had success with tea tree oil. This is inexpensive and you can get it at Walgreen's. Put a few drops in your shampoo and lice will stay away.
Learn about more natural remedies here.
Catch Lice at the Nit Stage
The easiest way to control head lice is to avoid letting the bugs hatch out of the nit stage. Nits are lice eggs that live bugs attach to the hair shaft. They can be really difficult to spot, especially if you haven't seen them before. If you've heard that lice is going around your child's school, or if a kid is scratching his head a lot, ask an experienced parent or the school nurse to check for nits. As the nits grow they become larger and look like dandruff on the hair. You'll know it's a nit and not dandruff because nits don't easily fall off the hair like dandruff. They are strongly attached to the hair and you'll need to use a nit comb or your fingernail to remove them.
Make checking for nits a regular part of your child's grooming routine. Spend the most time looking at the area at the back of the head near the hairline, where the skull attaches to the spine. Also, look carefully around and behind the ears. These are lice's favorite places. Checking once a week is a lot easier than risking a full-blown infestation. If lice get into your home, there is a lot of laundry involved. And pesticides. Try to avoid this at all costs!
Relax, It's Just a Bug
The last thing you want is to see little whitish bugs crawling around your precious child's head. Trust me. However, if this unfortunate circumstance occurs, do not panic. I repeat, DO NOT PANIC! Head lice are yucky indeed, but they don't spread disease. The are a pest, but not dangerous. Try not to freak out. Try not to hyperventilate. Just pretend you found a gnat. Then get to work. Head lice can lay up to eight eggs a day so if you see a live one, you want to get rid of it and any of its friends as soon as possible.