With school now back in full swing, the chances of your child coming home with a case of head lice have obviously gone way up. In fact, estimates range anywhere from 6 to 12 million new cases occur here in the United States every year, mostly among kids 11 years of age and younger. While not inherently dangerous to your child, ignoring the problem will not make it disappear and will, in fact, only make it worse – and fast. The best way to get rid of head lice is to treat it immediately and thoroughly. Do you know where to start?
Head Lice: What It Is And How To Treat It
Lice is usually spread by head-to-head contact, such as when two children are looking closely at the same thing together, but it can also be spread by sharing hats, clothes, or using the same furniture as someone else who has also been infected.
Of course, itching is usually the first tale-tell sign of a head lice infestation. Believe it or not, though, it may take weeks after the lice have already settled in before your child to actually starts scratching. By that time, obviously, things are well underway.
To confirm a case of head lice, look carefully around the hairline (usually near the neck and ears since they should be less difficult to see in those areas) for tiny eggs attached to the hair shaft. They’ll probably be about the same color as the hair, so check extra closely. Actual lice on the scalp will also be tough to catch, as well, since they more pretty quickly and avoid the light you’re creating as you search.
If you think you’ve got an active infestation on your hands, you should still see your care provider before beginning any treatment so he or she can confirm it. Upon that, anyone in close contact should also receive the physician’s prescribed treatment. In addition, all bed sheets and clothing should be washed in hot water and dried in a drier, as the high heat will kill both the adult lice and the eggs.
Remember, a case of head lice has nothing to do with cleanliness or hygiene, so keep that in mind if you find yourself dealing with it any time in the future.
So if your young one comes home scratching his or her head and it turns out to be lice, do you know what to do?