Head Lice in School
Head lice are grayish insects that feed on human blood extracted from the scalp. Female lice release sticky substances that attach all eggs to specific hair shafts. Eggs are laid a few millimeters from the shaft - an environment that offers the idyllic temperature for incubation.
Everyone who comes into direct contact with infected persons or contaminated items have a higher risk for head lice. However, head lice manifestations are more common in children aged between three to ten years old. Moreover, medical studies suggest that the females are more likely to develop the illness as compared to the males. Since head lice are highly contagious, schoolchildren can easily get them through head-to-head contact or sharing of personal items. To protect your child from head lice, consider the following tips:
1. Use lice repellent shampoos and sprays
Head lice prevention shampoos play a crucial role in repelling lice and can be utilized safely on children’s hair. Other than being aromatic, they are believed to be highly effective for more than seven hours. They often work as incredible disentangles, making them predominantly useful if your child’s hair is long and brushing or combing is quite challenging.
2. Avoid sharing hats, brushes, or combs
Head lice can inhabit all hair types: from ultra-short, straight, and unclean to long, frizzy, and squeaky. Whilst schoolchildren are advised to tie up their long hair to prevent lice infestations, research indicates that they’re likely to invade tightly plaited hair as compared to loosely held hair. Therefore, you should practice healthy hair hygiene at home.
First, advise your child to avoid sharing combs, brushes, or hats with others. After baths or hair washes, ensure that your child uses a personal towel, especially if you are drying hair. Though it could be quite challenging, try encouraging your child to resist from putting his/her head close to the heads or hair of their friends while playing.
3. Carefully watch for regular head scratching
If you realize that your child is constantly scratching his/her head many times, take out your nit comb and perform a comprehensive check for head lice. Moreover, look out for red bite marks or eggs - often around the nape of their neck or behind their ears. The lice might also appear like small red spots.
4. Frequently check your child’s hair with a nit comb
Identifying lice isn’t an easy task. Newborn lice are extremely small while their eggs are difficult to spot since they are translucent and lay on the scalp. When the eggs are hatched, the empty shells referred to as nits remain on the hair. These shells turn whitish when they are empty and this makes it easy to spot them.
The surest way to find head a louse is to carefully comb through your child’s hair using an advanced nit detection comb. After combing, wipe any contents of the comb on a whitish paper or tissue. You will then be able to spot live lice moving.
Carry out a systematic combing from the front of the head towards the back. Since lice have six legs, they can easily move to another side of the scalp when the hair is being combed. It is, therefore, imperative that you be quick and keen while performing the procedure. Do this regularly to ensure that your child stays free from head lice.
If you suspect head lice in your child, you should quickly seek medical assistance. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter drugs or any other prescription drugs to kill the lice and relieve the pain or itchiness caused by the insects.
- Use lice repellent shampoos and sprays
- Avoid sharing hats, brushes, or combs
- Carefully watch for regular head scratching
- Frequently check your child’s hair with a nit comb