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Head Lice Removal and Prevention Tips

Head Lice Removal and Prevention Tips

 

Head lice isn’t a huge problem in the US or Canada but it does still happen. And one of the most likely places for head lice infestations to spring up is in schools. The reason for this is because kids play in such close proximity to each other that these pesky little critters (i.e. the lice..not the kids) tend to spread very rapidly when the go get a toehold (no pun intended) on one of the kids.

Luckily, head lice don’t carry any diseases although their cousins, body lice and public lice are known to do so. Here are a few pro tips from Nitwits, a leading Toronto lice removal clinic. If and when your child gets head lice, treatment is fairly straightforward.. as also is prevention if you know what to look for. It just so happens that head lice isn’t something most parents ever think to look for on their kids and it’s usually not something that schools like to advertise or parents like to admit that their kids have.

Here’s what you have to do to treat and/or prevent head lice:

First of all, if you ever even suspect that your kids might have head lice, check their scalp and hair immediately. Head lice are very, very small but they are visible. The actual insects look like very tiny bugs. Their eggs, known as ‘nits’, look like very tiny grains of salt.

If you’re not sure your kids have head lice, comb their hair very thoroughly. There is a special type of comb with very close-together ‘tines’ called a ‘nit comb’. It’s the most effective at pulling the little head lice out of human hair…but a regular comb will likely pull some out too.

If you see any head like, or the nit eggs, here’s what you do:

Buy some medication. Several different companies make it and their formulations some type of active ingredient…usually just one. Some of these ingredients are actually mild pesticides and, while you wouldn’t want to wash your kid’s hair with these all the time, it’s OK to use it just to get rid of the lice.

There are also natural ingredients that are very effective too..Neem oil being one. Other natural ingredients that work well are vinegar, mayonnaise and petroleum jelly and tea tree oil. Some moms say hair spray works too (which is very possible because head lice die if they can’t breathe and the hair spray probably clogs the little spiracles they breathe through).

Next, wash the child’s hair thoroughly, in as hot water as they will tolerate. Head lice like body heat but nothing more than that. After using the anti-lice shampoo, do not wash the child’s hair in regular shampoo for at least two days. During this interim period, keep your eye on his/her scalp for signs of dead lice.either in the hair or on their neck or shoulders.

If, after your wash the child’s hair you see lice but they are moving more slowly than before (almost like they’re struggling) they probably are in the process of dying. So… don’t panic but DO comb them out.

If you get this far but the lice problem seems to be just as dramatic, you probably need to consult a medical practitioner for something a bit stronger. This happens sometimes too so it’s nothing to worry about.

If you anticipate needing a nit-comb but don’t know where to get one, don’t worry because frequently you’ll get one included in your anti-lice medication. If not, your pharmacist or doctor can tell you where to get one. Flea combs for pets are also somewhat effective if that’s all you can get.
After it looks like you’ve conquered the problem, keep your eyes on the child’s hair and be alert for any possible re-infestation. If you did a thorough job the first time, re-infestation is not likely but it’s always possible that you might have missed even one pregnant louse…and that’s all it takes.
That’s why you need to be sure and comb the child’s hair very well because once you get the bugs out, even if they’re not dead, they can only survive a day or two without food (human blood).

Re-treatment is recommended just as a safety precaution. Once you’ve been through the process these two times, you’ll almost invariably have the problem handled. At this point the next thing you need to do is be sure that all the child’s bedding and clothes are cleaned…in very hot water (130 degrees Fahrenheit or more) or by dry cleaning.

If you have any clothing items which are not washable but which you suspect of being lice-contaminated, you can still solve the problem by simply storing those clothes in air-tight bags for at least two weeks. By that time the bugs will have died for lack of food (blood).
That’s all there is to it. It takes a little bit of work to solve the problem, and of course prevention is a lot easier than the cure, but it’s nothing more than an inconvenience.