Preventing head lice is key when you have kids attending summer camps or heading back to school. Head lice are nasty. Once they take hold on your child’s head, they are tough to get rid of. They start to lay eggs almost immediately, and they multiply quickly. Children can contract head lice almost anywhere, since they spread fast, so it’s important for your child to know what not to do to avoid head lice. Prevention is the name of the game with head lice.
Preventing Head Lice – Stopping an Infestation Before it Starts
Here’s the thing that’s so important to remember about head lice. Any child can get them. A lot of people tend to think that head lice is somehow associated with poor hygiene, but that’s just not true. Any child can get lice. All they need to do is make head to head contact with an infested child. Head lice are NOT the sign of a neglected child. In fact they often prefer clean hair. Head lice are hard to spot at first because they’re so small. That’s why we parents only notice them when the infestation is in full swing. But fear not. Prevention is your first line of defence and should be a daily matter.
One of the easiest ways to contract head lice is to share head-touching items. The lice can and do climb from the child’s infested head onto the item, then when they other child uses that item… Boom. Infestation. Items to avoid include things like:
- Brushes and Combs
- Hair Clips and Accessories
- Hats and Bike Helmets
- Scarves and Coats
- Headsets and Earbuds
- Hair Ties
- Anything that can Touch the Hair or Scalp
Avoid Head Contact
Kids love to hug, or lean in close when talking. They wrestle around, build forts, and generally climb all over each other. It’s perfectly natural. If your child is playing with close friends, it’s not much of a risk. After all, if one of the kids gets lice, the other parents will know immediately and get the word out. However, if your child is headed off to camp or any sort of child activity that involves children they don’t know, it’s important for them to limit or completely avoid head contact. In addition, it’s important to keep long hair contained so that lice cannot latch on to any stray hair that might come into contact with an infested head. PONY tails and braids or buns for girls always!!
Keep Personal Items Separate
Preventing head lice involves keeping items separate as well. Even if your child avoids head to head contact and doesn’t share items, they can still contract head lice if their personal items are mixed in with lice infested items. It’s important for children to keep their items separate at all times whenever they go on any sort of trip – even a day trip. Children should keep all personal items out of common areas and never share storage areas like lockers, trunks, drawers, or any space were the items make contact for any length of time.
AND consider using a Tea Tree Oil or Rosemary hair product. There are some essential oils that work too. I very much prefer taking the preventative route over battling them full out. One summer when my oldest was 6 we spent an entire two months picking out nits and shampooing endlessly with the treatments. Lesson learned. LICE are awful. All the teddy bears had to be packaged away for weeks as we battled this little suckers. NO FUN. Our daughter had very long hair and was a hugger as many 6 year old girls are.
An Ounce of Preventing Head Lice is Worth a Pound of Frustration
Preventing head lice is key to avoiding a ton of hassle and general grossness. Head lice can be extremely difficult to get rid of. Even when you use a medicated shampoo, lice can still avoid death because of how difficult it is to hit every nook and cranny of the hair. And the days lice are becoming way more pesticide resistant so they are even harder to get rid of. Often times, it takes several round of shampooing plus painful comb outs with extremely fine toothed lice combs. Practice caution and try to prevent head lice whenever they go anywhere that could potentially be exposed. It’s important back to school information to remember.
Have you dealt with lice yet?