Ways to prevent head lice
Tis the season to get head lice, so this post is all about different ways to prevent head lice in your home.
Ways to prevent head lice
Be careful what you share and where you put your winter gear this winter season. Head lice will travel from location to location mainly from close contact of clothing or headgear.
Head lice will typically transfer from things that directly touch your head like hats, headbands, combs and the like, but they can also be transferred from all kinds of things that may have come in contact with a head lice infestation.
Head lice, for the most part, is spread through children sharing hats and head gear, but it can also be spread in other close-quarters places like college dorms. Education is probably the best way to prevent the spread of head lice.
Teaching your children that sharing things like jackets, hats, headbands, or hair ties should be something they avoid. Another way that you can make it more difficult for head lice to get onto your child’s hair, could be to put their hair in pony tails or to braid their hair.
Another place where head lice can spread to children is through slumber parties. With kids sleeping in different areas of the house and potentially sharing beds or pillows, that is another common place your children may encounter head lice.
Again, education is the best form of prevention and making sure your children know not to share beds or pillows, if at all possible, with the other kids.
Head lice cannot jump or fly, so their only means of transferring from one place to another is by crawling and direct contact with one infested location to another. By limiting the options of sharing clothing that could have touched a lice filled area and reducing the amount of available hair to grab onto with hairstyles like pony tails and braids, it can help to reduce to spread of head lice to your children and family.
Beyond avoiding direct contact with clothing or hair of a person infested with head lice, what can you do?
If you suspect that you may have come in contact with head lice, or perhaps you received notice that there was a lice outbreak at your children school, and they haven’t yet gotten lice yet, there are a few action steps you can take to prevent an issue.
Thoroughly check over your children’s hair to look for potential lice issues, and if you don’t see any head lice or nits, you should be fine. Again, head lice only spreads through direct contact, so if your children were simply in an area with someone with head lice, there is a good chance they didn’t pick up lice if nothing was in direct contact with the lice.
If you are still concerned, you can also start with washing hats and other clothes that may have come in contact with head lice. When you wash these clothes in hot water and dry them on high heat, it can help to kill off any head lice that may have gotten on the clothing.
Ways to get rid of head lice if they did spread to your home
Sometimes, even with your best prevention efforts, you may still develop a lice issue in your home. What do you do to get rid of head lice once you or your children get it?
There are various home treatments and chemical treatments that can be effective for getting rid of head lice but the majority of them will focus on suffocation. For example, some people swear by mayonnaise, while others say castor oil, while others swear by medical treatments. The anti-louse shampoo contains a chemical proven to kill the target, but that does not mean it is the end-all solution or the only one available. For some people, it is easier to just shave everyone’s heads and have peace of mind.
All have their degree of effectiveness and can be used, but in most cases, you’ll want to put on your remedy of choice and let it sit under a shower cap overnight or for several hours (unless it contains specific instructions otherwise). Doing this can suffocate the head lice and then you can remove them from there.
Unfortunately this isn’t the end of the story. Typically you will have many stages of head lice living on your head from full adults to eggs. You will need to get rid of them all, so this may require multiple treatments.
After each treatment you will also want to use a “nitpick” to remove any dead head lice as well as any head lice eggs that you may find on your head as well. This can take a week or two to fully get rid of all signs of head lice, but it does work.
Make education your foundation for one of the most effective ways to prevent head lice and then focus on removal treatments if necessary.
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