First Response to Head Lice
Head lice infestations are never fun, with many parents panicking and not knowing what to do when their child comes home with lice, or they get that dreaded letter home saying that the insect has been found at school. The first thing to do is remain calm – head lice are a lot more common than people think – and take a deep breath as there are a lot of helpful head lice treatments available to help rid your family of these nasty little critters. Getting rid of the dreaded louse is something that a lot of parents have to go through, often more than once, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Sometimes it is unavoidable, so it’s good to know all the key steps and tested methods to combat lice.
Once someone in the household has been found with lice, the first step is to identify who else has them, as well as to let other parents and the school know that there is an infestation going around. Know the signs to look out for, such as itching or bite marks around the scalp or behind the ears. Use Detection combing on all household members as a first step. Using a fine tooth comb, it allows you to have a quick check at who else has nits, and to see how large the infestation is. Once you’ve had this sorted, you can then make a start on treating those who are suffering. It can be embarrassing, but you should also be sure to let other parents know so that they can check and treat their kids if necessary: this will ensure the infestation doesn’t spread any further.
When everyone who has lice has been identified, the next step – the most important one – is treatment. There are a whole host of head lice treatments available on the market and so getting rid of lice is a lot easier than in the past. While it can be tempting to stick to home remedies such as mayonnaise and olive oils, there is no scientific proof that these actually work, despite parents swearing by them. These methods also only target live lice and leave the nits behind. The likes of vinegar and olive oil detach the lice from the strands of hair, making them easier to spot. These methods work better as preparation for when you’re combing through the hair later on, so you can pick out the lice easier.
The best treatment is still some reliable lice shampoo. These products target both lice and eggs and suffocate them, which helps stop the chance of re-infestation from nits that might be left behind with other methods. Alongside the treatment, it is also recommended that you use the combing method once again to make sure you have everything out of the hair. This is one of the most effective ways to get lice out, despite being really time consuming, and is one that most parents live by.
Clean the house
Lice can live up to a few days without being in hair, so it’s likely that if someone has lice, they are also going to be found around the house. Everything, such as bedding, carpets, hats, scarves, pillows and even stuffed animals need to be gathered up and washed at a high temperature to make sure that any lice present are killed too. Vacuum the house and wipe down surfaces to be fully confident that you’ve done everything you can. Other items such as combs and brushes need to be left in boiling hot water to rid them of any lice or nits if present. This is another time consuming task but one that is essential if you want to completely rid the house of lice.
Once you’re positive that there are no lice in the house, your next mission is to make sure that they don’t come back. Re-infestation is a big problem and if you’re not careful, lice can come back again in full force. Be sure to continue detection combing everyone in the house at least every few days to make sure that no new nits have appeared. Remember to keep checking hair in the weeks following treatments, and depending on your preference, you can also use the treatment once or twice more to make sure the lice are definitely gone.
Be sure to explain to your children the dangers of sharing things like brushes, hats and hair ties, and to tell them the initial signs of lice (itching) so that they can come to you if they suspect anything. Lice only move by crawling so they spread only by close head-to-head contact and contact through clothing, so let your children know that this is a possibility if they play closely with their friends.
If you follow these rules, you’ll have more of a chance to tackle lice when they appear and help avoid re-infestation.
Headlice Infographic – An infographic by the team at Lyclear