Because children are in very close contact with each other in schools and day cares, head lice in children is extremely common. That is why it is so important for you, as parents, to recognize the symptoms of head lice in children and how to treat the infestation properly.
As any parent who has been through a lice infestation will tell you, the experience is more frustrating than it is dangerous. Here are some tips on controlling this pesky problem and what you can do to keep your kids nit free.
One of the most common symptoms of head lice is itching although a light infestation may not cause any irritation. Also, having nits does not mean that you will have a lice infestation. Even after nits hatch, the casing can stay on the hair for a long time, and it is hard to tell the difference between an empty one and one with a live louse embryo inside. Nits are more likely to contain a live embryo if they are close to the scalp. Adult lice are reddish-brown and are most commonly seen at the back of the neck and behind the ears.
Finding the head lice in your child’s hair is very simple. it is best to find a spot with very bright lighting. Start by separating the hair into sections and carefully examine the strands for nits. They most likely will be found close to the scalp. The nits can be removed using a lice comb, your fingernail or tape. If you only find head lice eggs and not the insects, medicated shampoo is not yet necessary, but examine your child’s hair every day and continue to remove the nits.
If you find lice and nits on your child, then use an anti-lice shampoo and follow the package directions carefully. In general, you should apply it to washed and dried hair and apply the shampoo until the hair and scalp is saturated and thoroughly wet. Leave the shampoo on for ten minutes and then rinse it out. Consider using a second shampoo treatment in 7-10 days to kill newly hatched lice. For lice in eyelashes, apply Vaseline to the eyelashes twice a day for a week to kill them.
Lice can live off of the body for up to three days, so give your house a thorough cleaning to prevent a reinfestation. Wash all bedding and recently worn clothing in hot water and dry in a hot dryer. Soak combs and brushes in hot water for at least ten minutes. Vacuuming furniture, rugs, stuffed animals and car seats will help to clean those items, but articles that cannot be washed should be put into plastic bags for three weeks.
Prevention is better than a cure, so teach your kids not to share hats, combs and headphones with their friends. While it is not a dangerous condition, the symptoms of head lice in children must be treated immediately to stop the pests from spreading. Consult a pharmacist for advice on the best products for your child. As frustrating as an infestation of lice is, a quick response will take care of the problem.