Whether it’s in the school yard or day-care, every child comes into contact with headlice at some point, as parents it can become quite frustrating; especially if you are constantly treating and retreating your child. There are, however, a few tips that can help keep the nit numbers down in your household.
Headlice cannot fly. They have no wings. They crawl from surface to surface and spread by close contact. This is why it is important to encourage tying back long hair, and to discourage the practice of sharing hats and hair brushes. While the lice live and breed in the hair, feeding off the scalp, they can live up to 24 hours away from a host.
Did you know, that the headlice themselves are really hard to spot? It is actually the eggs (and the itch) that often give an infestation away. The eggs stick to the hair shaft, close to the scalp and are usually found behind the ears and at the base of the scalp. They are very difficult to remove. There are specially designed nit combs, which make the removal of these eggs easier and are used in the treatment plan of headlice. These treatments usually involve a solution or shampoo designed to kill the headlice, which is followed by combing with a nit comb in order to remove lice and eggs from the hair. This treatment often needs to be repeated in 7 days, as the life cycle of headlice is 7-10 days.
When treating one child or person within the house, it is also important to treat everyone else at the same time; even if they don’t appear to currently be infected. It is also important to wash all bedding in hot water and hang out in the direct sunlight. As well soak combs and brushes in hot water for 10 minutes. This is to prevent reinfestation by any lice that may be remaining on these objects.
You may be surprised to hear that hair cleanliness does not actually affect the chance of getting headlice. But by tying back long hair, discouraging sharing hats and hair brushes, regularly checking your child’s hair, notifying their school/day-care and treating straight away, you can turn a potentially ongoing problem, into a small, more manageable one.
The team at The Friendlies Chemist are the authors of this news feed.