The CDC reports that 6 million to 12 million children in the U.S., from ages 3 to 11, get head lice every year. Worse yet, chemical-based methods of lice removal are becoming less effective, as Scientific American’s article on the Revenge of the Super Lice says that: “Overexposure to insecticides has bred resistance in the parasites, making it harder than ever to treat infestation.” So the best way to beat the little critters is to prevent head lice in the first place.
In the case of children, school is where they are most often exposed to head lice. Kids and parents alike should take precautionary measures to minimize the risk. Here are some simple steps you can take to prevent head lice:
Avoid Head-to-Head Contact to Prevent Head Lice
Direct head to head contact with a lice-infested person is the primary way lice is spread. So warn kids to avoid that kind of contact while they’re playing, especially if they know that a friend has head lice or it has been found at their school. No one can tell at first glance who has lice, though, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Routine Head Checks
Check on your kid once a week or so to see if there are any signs of infestations. It can take up to 6 weeks for the itching to start, so don’t wait for that. Look for nits, lice eggs attached to strands of hair. Particles that are easily removed are probably dandruff or lint. Nits are glued to the hair shaft at the base and are not easily moved or removed. Lice especially favor the back hairline and behind the ears.
Early detection is essential for early treatment. It can help prevent head lice from spreading to other kids at school.
It’s Very Hard to Get Lice by Sharing Clothes, Hats, Etc.
It is actually uncommon for lice to transfer to another person by sharing clothing, hats and other attire with someone who has lice. It is also extremely rare for lice to be spread via combs, brushes, towels, bedding, carpets, pillows or couches.
With that said, it’s still a safe practice to avoid sharing such items like this with someone who has lice. It’s not a major risk, but it can happen. Items that have been in contact with lice-infested individuals can be disinfected simply. Combs and brushes can be soaked in hot water for 5-10 minutes. Clothing can be machine washed with hot water and high heat drying cycle.
Get in Touch
Worried about a head lice outbreak? Broach the subject with your Parent-Teacher Association, talk about it with teachers or nurses. Prevention is made much easier when others are in on it, especially if they can educate the other kids on how to avoid head lice. The risk of infestation can drastically go down when everyone’s involved.
Know That EVERYONE Can get Head Lice Regardless of Wealth or Cleanliness
Parents who know their kids have lice might be ashamed to bring it up or ask for help from the school nurse or other parents. Affected kids themselves might feel ashamed about it and hide their symptoms as long as possible. So it’s important, especially for children, not to look down on those affected with head lice or treat them badly. Those with infestations shouldn’t think less of themselves either, since it’s a treatable condition that nearly everyone goes through in their life.
Being open about the subject will help prevention and make it easier for those affected to ask for the treatment they need.
Contact a Professional Lice Treatment Clinic if You Find Lice
If you don’t detect any lice, then you’ve done a good job at prevention. But if you detect any lice or nits, call Fresh Heads today to schedule an appointment. We remove lice and their eggs in about 90 minutes, guaranteed, with our FDA-cleared, 100% chemical-free AirAllé machine!