At times, outbreaks of head lice are so widespread in some schools and communities that there is little you can do to keep your child’s head insect-free. If your child does catch head lice, 10 days to two weeks of daily effort and vigilance will get rid of them. See Creepy Crawlers on your Child’s Head for more information on ridding your child of lice.
Keeping the Bugs at Bay
Meanwhile, be aware that this has become commonplace. Head lice are a pesky, although benign, problem of epidemic proportions. Head lice infestations are most common among elementary school age children. There is not a whole lot you can do to keep your child from catching head lice, but you can give it the old college try with a few preventive measures:
1. Teach your children not to share hats, scarves, brushes, combs and hair ornaments with other kids.
2. Some experts advise washing your child’s hair and linens frequently, using hot water on the bedding and towels.
3. When there is a lice problem at school, check your child often for signs of lice.
4. Encourage your child’s school to enact strict preventive policies, and cooperate with the rules if they are already in place. These policies may include regular screenings at school and may mean your child gets sent home during an outbreak if lice are found.
5. Find out where the kids hang their coats and hats at school. If they are too close together, live head lice (not the nits) can migrate from one to another.
6. If head lice do infect your children, follow all the instructions carefully to make sure they do not re-emerge after treatment. This means adhering to all the product label directions, nit-picking, and de-lousing every possible louse habitat in your home, such as bedding, mattresses, pillows and stuffed animals.
7. Communicate. Do not be embarrassed. Tell the school and families of playmates when your kids get lice. The chances for preventing an epidemic outbreak increase with prompt and early treatment of lice.