Has your child just entered the new school year and are you already dreading the note saying someone in the class has head lice? Here is how you as a parent can prevent head lice when your kid goes back to school.
- Educate your child and yourself
Have you lived with the misconception that lice can fly or hop into your hair? Well, it can’t, its six legs allow it to only crawl into your hair. The lice egg or nits too are placed on the hair shaft and held there with a glue like substance, eliminating chances of them falling into another person’s head. They can only be transferred from head to head contact as they can survive only on the warm scalp or hair shaft. Regardless of who’s head are they breeding on, in an instance of head to head contact, they may crawl from one strand to another, thus possibly infesting another person’s head. The color of your hair, the cleanliness or type of hair doesn’t matter as long as the lice gets its required warmth. Also, you cannot get lice from your pets and neither give it to them.
So, if your kid is starting school anytime soon, you need to explain to them to not share combs, hair brushes, or hats, and to avoid touching their heads with other children’s’. Education about how lice infests is essential to avoid lice infestation.
- Always tie up long hair
If your child has long hair, it is a wise idea to tie them up to reduce the area that may come in contact with infected hair. The best is to tie them in a bun or braid, but a ponytail too will serve the purpose.
If permitted by school authorities, you may opt to have your child wear a bandana to cover the scalp and thus reduce the area exposed to lice.
- Peak once a week
To get rid of the lice, you must know how to identify them. If you are wondering whether your kid has lice, try looking for a small rash on the neck or behind the ears, or an itchy head with small red bumps may be signal enough. Also you’d notice caramel colored or white flecks sticking to your hair, not moving easily as opposed to dandruff. You may also notice a louse crawling through the hair shaft.
It is a good idea to check hair for lice on a weekly basis after your kid has washed the hair and while the hair is still damp.
Lift the strands up to look properly when brushing damp hair. You can use a head lice comb for this.
If you suspect that your child has a lice infestation, you may add conditioner to washed damp hair and then comb through using a nit comb. Wipe this nit comb on paper towel after every couple of brushes. If you notice black or brown flecks, your suspicion may be right. The crown of your head, the nape of your neck, and behind your ears is most common places for lice. To spot lice, sit under a bright lamp or strong sunlight.
- Tea Tree
Tea tree oil can be your answer to lice infestation. Adding a couple of drops to your child’s shampoo or adding to water in a spritz bottle and spraying on your child’s hair before going to school may do the trick. If running out of time, you may as well dap a few drops at the back of the neck and behind the ears. However, use only as the bottle directs as tea tree oil can be drying, especially when the concentration is high.
- Hair Spray and Aloe Vera / Jojoba
To keep flyaway strands at bay, parents often recommend using a hair spray. If you are shying from using a chemical hair spray for your child, try picking a shampoo or conditioner enriched with jojoba or aloe as its major ingredient. Head lice hate the smell of aloe vera gel and jojoba and are likely to not infest your head further. You may also use natural aloe vera gel for half an hour before washing your child’s hair.
- Don’t Panic
If your child or anybody else in the family has head lice or has contracted it suddenly, it isn’t something that should make you feel ashamed. Personal hygiene is not to be put in question if you contract head lice.
However, instead of panicking, try to treat the lice on its first signs and keep checking hair regularly for lice infestation. If you’re not sure whether your child has lice, avoid using over the counter or off the shelf lice treatment products or else on a real outbreak, the products will not prove to be as effective.
After the treatment, ensure that you disinfect all hair care items, hats, and bed linen to avoid lice from infesting your head again.
- Buy double duty hair products
The market has specialized products handling more than one problem at a time. Thus, when shopping, try to look for shampoos, conditioners, or detangling products that are all-natural and tend to less the likelihood of an infestation of head lice. Switch to these products permanently if they suit your children and the school has often sent notices about some child in the class having head lice.