A head louse is a minute, tiny, wingless insect living in the child’s hair. Head lice depend on human blood drawn from the skin for survival. They usually affect kids and can be bothersome, itchy, and hard to treat. Head lice are not deadly. Usually, lice infestations are preventable and do not cause diseases. The following are ways you can do to prevent head lice:
1. Teach, embrace, and practice good habits
Embracing good habits can help prevent the spread of head lice. For instance, you should stop sharing certain items that can spread head lice. The reason is that lice is spread by crawling from an object to your child’s head. Therefore, you should advise your child against sharing personal belongings such as:
- hair brushes
- hair clips
- hair accessories
- head hats
- bike helmets
- head scarves
- headsets/ear buds
2. Avoid going head-to-head
When children play, they naturally go head-to-head. This means that your child is likely to get head lice if his/her friends have it. Therefore, you should talk to your child about the dangers of locking heads with friends when playing. Ask him/her to avoid games that can lead to head-to-head contacts. Moreover, make sure to braid a long hair. You can also apply hair spray to contain stray hair.
3. Space it out
Head lice can spread if your child shares spaces and belongings. Therefore, do not encourage shared closets, common clothes, drawers, and lockers because they can play a vital role in spreading head lice. Make sure to talk to your child regarding the dangers of sharing places and personal belongings. Let your child understand that hats, clothing, coats, and scarves shouldn’t be stored in common areas.
4. Early actions
Teachers should report and educate parents in case of a head lice infestation. They should also teach parents and children on preventative measures. Parents should also take quick action to combat head lice before they become severe. Watch out for small white objects in your child’s hair. Before and after going to school, inspect the clothes of your child such as hats, shirts, scarves, as well as coats.
You should do the following in case your child's school reports a head lice infestation:
• Check all household items that are likely to provide a breeding ground for lice and the eggs like towels, beddings, and rugs.
• Teach your child about the importance keeping personal belongings. Tell him/her that sharing them can lead to having head lice.
• Educate your child about head lice and how to prevent them.
Watch Out: Ineffective medicine to prevent head lice
Certain studies have suggested that some ingredients in OTC products can repel head lice. Such ingredients include lemongrass, citronella, eucalyptus, tea tree, and rosemary. However, these products have not been regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Therefore, you should only try the above recommended preventative measures instead of these unregulated medicinal products as far as the prevention of head lice is concerned.
Taking precautions can help prevent the spread of head lice. You should ensure that your child is aware of the condition (head lice) and the importance of not sharing personal belongings. Always maintain a good hygiene whether at home or school.
- Teach, embrace, and practice good habits
- Avoid going head-to-head
- Space it out