Tips for Preventing a Head Lice Infestation from Tips for Preventing a Head Lice Infestation

Tips for Preventing a Head Lice Infestation

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Tips for Preventing a Head Lice Infestation

Most people live in fear of head lice, but no one dreads it more than parents, guardians, teachers and school nurses. The last thing a parent wants is a call from their kid’s school saying “your child has head lice.”

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“While a head lice infestation is not dangerous, it is a nuisance and can cause significant social distress,” Krista Lauer, medical director for Lice Clinics of America, says. “Check your children when the dreaded note comes home from school and call other parents to be sure they do the same.”

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Avoid head-to- head contact

“Lice do not jump, swim or fly. They do not live on your pets. They are specifically adapted to move through hair on the human scalp,” says Krista Lauer, medical director for Lice Clinics of America. “The best opportunity for the lice to transfer from one person to another is through direct head-to-head contact. Children should try not to touch their heads together during play or when posing for pictures.” If possible, Lauer says, they should not share pillows at sleepovers or family gatherings – there is a high likelihood that their heads will touch.

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Wear your long hair up

“If your children are engaged in activities where there is the potential for head-to-head contact, including sleepovers, securing long hair in a ponytail or braids may help to reduce the risk of exposure,” Lauer says.

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Don’t share combs/brushes, hats or hair accessories

“Lice are not able to live off the human head for long periods of time. They dehydrate quickly. Because of this, it is uncommon for lice to be transmitted by objects such as combs or articles of clothing,” Lauer says. “Even so, it is wise to tell children not to share combs, brushes, hats or hair accessories, especially if they have just been used.”

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Wear protective head gear during athletic activities

“Head injuries from athletic activities are a serious health issue, unlike head lice. Head injuries can result in severe long-term medical consequences,” Lauer says. “Fear of head lice should never prevent anyone from wearing protective head gear, such as a batting helmet, during athletic activities.”

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Conduct routine head checks

Even if you take caution, exposure to lice can occur. “It can take 4-6 weeks for a person to develop symptoms of a lice infestation the first time, so the person with lice may not know they have it,” Lauer says. “To stay ahead of a situation that could result in an infestation, we recommend checking your child’s head weekly.” Using a nit comb is the best way to identify a possible lice infestation, she adds. “Some nits can be removed with careful combing through wet or dry hair. If you see these, or you suspect lice, seek attention.”

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Do laundry

Many people feel it is necessary to decontaminate everything once lice are in the house. “It is reasonable to launder clothing and bedding that has recently been in contact with the head. Since lice are unable to live off the head for very long, there is no need to clean carpets or car seats,” Lauer says. “Also, since lice are specifically adapted to move through human hair, there is no need to treat house pets or to throw out favorite stuffed animals.” When laundering articles, use hot, soapy water and dry clothes in a hot dryer, she adds.

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Work in your community to destigmatize lice

Remember that head lice are bothersome, but they are not dangerous. “Lice do not spread diseases and a lice infestation is not an indication of poor hygiene. In fact, some experts believe that lice prefer clean hair [because] it is easier to crawl through,” Lauer says. “Lice do not discriminate. They affect people from every ethnic background and socioeconomic group. Be proactive in your communities.”

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Use Tea Tree Oil

This is an inexpensive way to ward off lice. Simply add 5-6 drops of Tea Tree Oil to your shampoo bottle to deter lice.

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Use lice preventing spray

Head out to your local drug store and purchase a lice preventing spray. Some of the best options to choose from are Licefreee Spray, Lice Shield Leave in Spray, Nix Lice Control Spray, and SoCozy Boo Lice Prevention Spray.

Tips for Preventing a Head Lice Infestation