The first thing to understand is that having head lice is not a sign of uncleanliness or poor hygiene. The pesky little bugs can be a problem for kids of all ages and socioeconomic levels, no matter how often they do — or don’t — clean their hair or bathe.
However, you can help to prevent kids from getting lice — or from becoming reinfested with lice — by taking the following precautions:
Tell kids to try to avoid head-to-head contact at school (in gym, on the playground, or during sports) and while playing at home with other children.
Tell kids not to share combs, brushes, hats, scarves, bandanas, ribbons, barrettes, hair ties or bands, towels, helmets, or other personal care items with anyone else, whether they may have lice or not.
Tell kids not to lie on bedding, pillows, and carpets that have recently been used by someone with lice.
Every 3 or 4 days, examine members of your household who have had close contact with a person who has lice. Then, treat those who are found to have lice or nits close to the scalp.
Will They Ever Be Gone?
As many parents know firsthand, lice infestation can be a persistent nuisance, especially in group settings. If you feel like you’re following every recommendation and your child still has lice, it may be because:
there are still some nits left behind
your child is still being exposed to someone with lice
the treatment you’re using isn’t effective
There’s no doubt that they can be hard bugs to get rid of. If your child still has lice for 2 weeks after you started treatment or if your child’s scalp looks infected, call your doctor.
No matter how long the problem lasts, be sure to emphasize to your child that although having lice can certainly be very embarrassing, anyone can get them. It’s important for kids to understand that they haven’t done anything wrong and that having lice doesn’t make them dirty. And reassure them that as aggravating as getting rid of the annoying insects can be, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Be patient and follow the treatments and preventative tips as directed by your doctor for keeping the bugs at bay, and you’ll be well on your way to keeping your family lice-free.
September is Head Lice Prevention Month and although Modern Pest Services doesn’t treat head lice, we do receive many questions from concerned parents about the topic throughout the school year. The head lice articles were posted on our blog to help educate you and answer some of your more common questions.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: September 2008
Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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