That Nasty Little Bug Called Head Lice
Your child is sent home from school because he has head lice. Now what do you do? Having head lice really isn’t an uncommon problem and it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world either.
Many people assume that if you or your child have head lice, you’re poor and do not keep very healthy hygiene habits. This is untrue and as a matter of fact, head lice prefer clean heads.
Once you are for certain your child has head lice, you want to take immediate action for removing the nasty little bugs. Here’s how.
Generally the first sign of head lice is continuous itching of the head, however there are some people who never itch at all. The only real way to tell if your child has head lice is by looking for the nits (lice eggs) and adult lice. Nits are very tiny, white oval eggs that attach themselves to the hair shaft. Adult lice are 1/8 inch long, flat with legs and grayish in color.
You can remove head lice using an over the counter treatment that contains an insecticide used to eliminate the lice. Or if you’re worried about chemicals, pregnant or nursing, you can use olive oil to remove the head lice since it will coat the lice, preventing them from breathing.
To use: For an insecticide shampoo, follow the manufacturer’s directions. For olive oil, massage the oil into the scalp and hair.
- Next, you will want to comb the hair to remove the nits and lice. To do this you will need a metal comb that is made specifically for head lice. You can find the comb at a beauty shop or your local pharmacist store.
- Section off the hair into smaller pieces so that it will be easier to work with. Holding the section of hair with one hand, insert the lice comb as close as you can to the scalp and carefully pull the comb slowly through the hair from root to tip. Check the comb for any nits or lice.
- If lice or nits are present on the comb, dip the comb in hot soapy water and remove the nits or lice using a tissue.
Repeat the technique until you have done all of the hair and hair is free and clean of nits or lice.
After you’ve combed the entire head of hair, you can then dispose of the tissues down the toilet.
- To remove the oil, shampoo the hair at least twice. If you’ve used an insecticide shampoo for treatment, follow the manufacturer’s aftercare instructions.
- Once the hair is dry, check for any stray nits and remove them with the comb. Dip the comb in hot soapy water and remove the nits with a tissue, then discard the tissue down the toilet.
- If there are other family members in the household, you’ll want to check them for head lice as well. Before you begin however, clean the lice comb in hot boiling water.
Once all of the family members have been checked for lice, it’s time to clean the house.
- Soak all combs and brushes in hot soapy water for at least 10 minutes.
- Launder all clothing, bedding and towels in hot soapy water.
- If you have stuffed animals or hats that are not washable, dry them in a hot dryer for at least 20 minutes.
- Vacuum carpets, furniture and car seats.
Continue to treat each household member for head lice for at least 3 weeks. Even if there appears to be no nits or lice it does not mean you are free and clear of the nasty little bugs.