How to Prevent Head Lice

How to Prevent Head Lice

How to Prevent Head Lice

Thanks to generations of myths and misinformation, the mere mention of a head lice infestation at school is enough to send some parents into panic mode. However panic, we’ve discovered, has absolutely no effect on whether a child picks up head lice 😉 but a little education and watchfulness… that’s a different story! How to Prevent Head Lice?

How to Prevent Head Lice

The head louse (Pediculus humanus capitis) is an obligate ectoparasite of humans that causes head lice infestation (pediculosis capitis).

Head lice are wingless insects spending their entire lives on the human scalp and feeding exclusively on human blood. Humans are the only known hosts of this specific parasite, while chimpanzees host a closely related species, Pediculus schaeffi. Other species of lice infest most orders of mammals and all orders of birds, as well as other parts of the human body.

Preventing head lice is easier and more pleasant for kids and parents and a good routine will make it much less likely that your child will be affected.

Head lice are everywhere. If you have kids and they are around other kids, they are at risk for getting head lice. They are in every community and school district, from the richest to the poorest.

Although the focus of parents and pediatricians is usually on treating head lice infestations, with more lice being resistant or hard to treat, it is probably even more important to teach your kids to avoid head lice. Since head lice can’t jump from child to child or crawl into your home, preventing head lice infestations isn’t as hard as it may sound.

Tips to avoid and prevent Head Lice

How to Prevent Head Lice
How to Prevent Head Lice?

Avoid sharing head-touching items. To reduce the chance of you or your child catching a case of head lice, start by not sharing items that touch the head.

It may be tempting to share personal belongings, especially for kids, but lice can crawl from an object to your head. Avoid sharing:

  • Combs and brushes.
  • Hair clips and accessories.
  • Hats and bike helmets.
  • Scarves and coats.
  • Towels.
  • Headsets and earbuds.

Teach your kids to hang up their coats and hats on an individual hook, or some other separate area when they get to school, instead of just throwing them in a pile with other classmates’ clothing.

Do Routine Head Checks. Because lice are tiny and fast, infestations are usually identified by the presence of nits. These lice eggs are attached to strands of hair and are easier to spot. If they are easily removed, it’s probably just dandruff or lint. Check your child once a week and look closely at the back hairline and behind the ears, where lice tend to populate. It can take up to 6 weeks to experience itching!

Say “NO” to sleepovers until 48 hours after treatment and no living lice visualized. If there’s a head lice outbreak in your child’s school, put sleepover parties on hold for a while, since head lice can live in bedding, pillows, and carpets that have recently been used by someone with head lice.

Think wisely when it comes to your house.

How to Prevent Head Lice
  • Extreme environmental clean-up does not appear to lessen the spread of lice. However, washing pillow cases may be useful. Spending excessive time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid re-infestation by lice or nits that may have fallen off the head or crawled onto furniture or clothing.
  • Common sense should guide you if you wish to do anything more.
    • You may avoid lying on beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have been in immediate contact with an untreated, infested person.
    • You may choose to machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that an untreated, infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry-cleaned OR sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.
    • You may vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the untreated, infested person sat or lay.

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