Head Lice in Schools

School Has Started: Lice Alert

Sharing is something that parents try to teach their children. Of course, when kids start going to school, inadvertent sharing of colds and lice can be problematic. While parents can cope with the common cold, they still have trouble dealing with lice. Although you might wish and hope that it never happens to you and your child, it can, so you need to make sure you are prepared to deal with them.

Prevention of Lice

The saying that an ounce of prevention is worth of a pound of cure is very apt. Most of the time, head lice spread through direct contact. However, they can spread by sharing clothing, such as hats, and other items as well. Most of the time, head lice that are off of the human scalp for more than two days will die, which means that there is only a very small chance of getting a lice infestation from those that are on furniture or that have fallen to the carpet, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Some of their best prevention methods include avoiding head to head contact between children. This includes when they are at school, at home, playing sports, visiting friends, etc. In addition, they should not share clothing or hair accessories. Don’t share towels, combs, or brushes. If a comb or brush has been or is suspected to have been used by someone who has lice, you can disinfect them by soaking them in hot water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit for about ten minutes.

Wash clothing and other items touched by those with lice, as well as items the person touched or wore during their treatment. If there is an item that can’t be washed in hot water, it is acceptable to store it in a plastic bag for two weeks.

Of course, it can be difficult to impress the importance of this upon children, but parents should attempt to do so.

Identifying Lice

Do you know what lice look like? If you haven’t had to deal with them on your children before, and if you’ve never had lice, then you probably don’t. Even if you may have been unfortunate enough to have had lice as a child, chances are you don’t remember what they look like or what all of the signs might be. Here’s a reminder.

First, you will want to look for signs that your child has an itchy head and that they are scratching more often. This is particularly true of the area around the neck, the temples, and the ears. The saliva of the lice causes a mild allergic reaction that causes the itchiness. If you notice excess itching, or if you get a warning from the school that lice were found on one of the school children, it is time to check your kids.

When looking for lice, you need to have good lighting and a comb that you can use to move away hair and look at the scalp. You want to look for signs of movement, particularly in the locations just mentioned. If you notice live adult lice or lice eggs, called nits, then you need to provide the child with lice treatment.

Removing Lice

The first course of action is to try an over the counter lice treatment. They are readily available in drug stores, and even in many grocery stores. Follow the instructions on the medication and then check the hair again in about eight to 12 hours. Live may still be present, but they should be moving slowly now – this is a sign they are dying. If that’s the case, you will not have to treat the head again. Simply comb out the remaining lice with a fine-toothed comb.

If the lice appear to be still as active, then it means the medicine is not working properly. At that point, you should speak with a medical professional. They may have to provide you with a prescription medication instead. It is a good idea to continue checking for the lice for several weeks, just in case they weren’t all killed and they decide to return.

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