Wheelchairs: Mobility Options for You

Tips For Dealing With Head Lice

Nobody wants to get that call from the school or daycare saying that they need to come pick up their child because they have head lice. The lice screening services used by the school have found either nits or live lice on the child's head. Even though getting lice has nothing to do with being dirty, a lot of people are embarrassed by the fact that their child has head lice and might even have spread it on to other children. Understanding a bit more about these pests may make it easier to get rid of them and avoid reinfestation.

How Lice Are Spread

Although lice can be spread by sharing hats, scarves, combs, or brushes, this isn't typically the case because lice only live for two to three days once they're not on the human body. They also can't jump, so they mostly spread through head-to-head contact, such as when two kids lean close together to look at something and their heads touch. To be on the safe side though, it's a good idea to wash any clothing or bedding that's been in contact with the infested person's head in hot water. Stuffed animals should be either put in a bag in the freezer or sealed in the bag for a month to make sure that any lice are dead before they're used again.

Best Treatment

It's recommended that once an infestation is confirmed, an over-the-counter lice treatment product be used and the hair combed through with a special lice comb to get rid of any live lice and as many nits (or lice eggs) as possible. Then, every one or three days the hair should be combed again to catch any that were missed or that have hatched since the last time. About a week to ten days after the first treatment, retreat the hair if any live bugs have been found, as nits tend to hatch after seven days and this will catch the lice that have hatched since the last treatment. Should this not work, your child may have become infested with resistant lice, which are now common in most states. With this type of lice, only 25 percent or so may be killed by over-the-counter methods. The doctor can prescribe a stronger prescription treatment that should help in these cases. This could include spinosad, ivermectin, malathion, or benzyl alcohol lotion. Check other family members, as they may also need treatment if the lice have spread to them.

Potentially Ineffective Treatments

A number of other lice treatments have been suggested or used by some people, but there isn't enough evidence to support their use and some can even be dangerous. Mayonnaise, vaseline, coconut oil, essential oils, olive oil, and WD 40 are said to smother the lice, but haven't been found to be particularly effective. They are more likely to just slow them down and make it easier to catch them when going through the hair with a lice comb. Vodka, vinegar, bleach, dye, kerosene and tar remover are also ineffective for killing lice, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.