Head lice are persistent critters and have a knack of
returning just when you think you’ve got rid of the last one. Dealing with head
lice isn’t just removing the initial infestation, it’s making sure that lice do
not return – this is especially important if you have more than one child. So
how do you do it?
If you find head lice:
Treat them immediately
- This goes without saying. If you find head lice you should treat them straightaway. There are various chemical treatments available and you’ll be recommended to wet comb the hair with a nit comb to make sure you get everything out. Your GP will be able to recommend the right product for you.
Tell everyone in direct contact
- Telling all relevant parties (school, nursery, clubs etc.) ASAP will mean that other parents can begin checking and potentially treating children straightaway. This means lice will be less likely to spread throughout these groups, lessening the chance of your child getting infested again.
Check everyone who has had close contact
- Check your entire family for lice. Use the wet-combing technique to do this and treat if any are discovered.
Wash all bedding and clothing
- Though lice can’t survive for a very long time without being on a scalp a good precaution to take is to wash all bedding and clothing on a hot wash and hot cycle of the dryer for at least twenty minutes. Lice will perish at temperatures above 55 degrees. You might also want to dry clean any bedding or toys that can’t be washed, though you’ll probably be fine without doing this.
Soak combs, brushes, head bands, hats
- Anything that has been in direct contact with the infested scalp should also be soaked or washed. These are probably the most important items to clean as they’re most likely to have lice on them.
Precautions to take:
Educate your children
If your children understand how they can catch lice then they can start to take action to protect themselves. You don’t have to make head lice sound scary or serious to help your kids avoid danger situations. Encourage them to avoid head to head contact with other kids, tell them not to share combs, brushes, hats, towels and the like. Make sure they know not to put their head on the same pillows or bedding that have been used by a child with lice.
- Regular checks are the most important way to prevent head lice. Scalps only become itchy 6 to 8 weeks after infestation (as an allergic reaction, not because the lice are biting). Most of the time when we see signs of lice they’ve actually been making themselves at home for quite some time. Catching head lice as soon as possible is important so checking everyone’s heads every two weeks or monthly will help you to catch outbreaks early.
Consider using a regular product that can help prevent head lice
- Another way to prevent head lice is to consider using a shampoo or spray that can also help prevent head lice. These products function as everyday shampoos so can simply replace your child’s regular shampoo and conditioner with these.
For further information on maintaining children’s healthy hair and scalps as well as head lice prevention check out Vosene’s advice centre.