If you have a school-going child, you are probably worried about them contracting head lice. Unfortunately, once a child starts going to school and interacting with other kids, the risk of getting lice becomes imminent. If one or more kids at school have head lice, they can spread the pesky creatures to other children.
As a parent, you may not have much control over who your child hangs out with when they are not at home. However, this does not mean that you should sit back and watch them get exposed to lice.
This post will provide insight into how lice can be contracted, how to detect them, head lice removal tips, and measures you can take to protect your school-going children from them.
How Children Contract Head Lice
Head lice are small bugs that are the size of sesame seeds and they feed on small amounts of blood from the scalp. As they feed, they lay eggs and multiply in the hair. Lice can survive up to one or two days without blood. They tend to affect mostly kids in pre-school, elementary, and middle school. Each year, millions of children in the United States get lice. However, even teenagers and adults can get lice as well.
Unlike what many people believe, head lice do not result from hygiene issues. In fact, they thrive in dry, clean and non-greasy hair. Most children’s hair meets these requirements — they are often washed, dried, and cleaned on a regular (even daily) basis. The dry, non-greasy scalp creates a suitable environment for lice to grow. If one child at school has them, they can pass the lice or eggs to other kids during play time.
Lice can survive outside their normal environment (the hair) for around 48 hours. They cannot fly or jump, and are usually transmitted through hair-to-hair contact. Therefore, as kids play, exchange hats and touch each other’s hair, the lice can be transferred one person to another.
Signs that Your Child Has Lice
How do you know that your child has lice? The most obvious sign is when they keep on scratching their head even after getting a wash. Lice cause the scalp to feel itchy and uncomfortable. If your child is scratching their head, inspect the hair by running a comb through small sections. If you notice small brown insects the size of sesame seeds, your child has lice. You may want to check the rest of your kids just to be sure that they have not contracted the lice as well.
Child-Friendly Lice Treatment Options
If your child has lice, you need to treat them immediately. Failure to provide immediate treatments causes them to multiply, and this increases the risk of them passing on the insects to other people. There are numerous lice treatment shampoos on the market today. Always look for treatments that are 100% natural, non-toxic, and free of any dangerous pesticides.
You can also visit a head lice treatment specialist that can perform professional removal procedures such as hot air treatments and nit combing. Going with a specialist providing lice removal services gives you a higher success rate, compared to the use of regular shampoos and other DIY treatments. Additionally, the expert will perform further routine checks and provide valuable tips on how to prevent a re-infestation.
How to Prevent Head Lice
As aforementioned, most kids contract head lice from other children they interact with. Therefore, you can caution your child against sharing hats, combs, hair pins, or even touching another person’s hair. If a child at school has lice, check yours to make sure that they have not contracted these little insects. Additionally, wash their headgear, scarves, and clothes in water that is at least 130 degrees to kill any lice that may have been transferred.
Head lice can be a menace for most parents. The best way to be safe is to check your child’s hair regularly for lice and advise them against actions that could increase the risk of infestation. If there is a child who has untreated lice in school, you may want to keep your child at home until treatment has been sought by the concerned parent.