Winter is coming. Unfortunately, that sometimes means an increase in head lice at schools. Lice are small bugs that lay eggs and live in human hair, near or on the scalp.
Especially if you’re caring for small children, it’s a good idea to check their hair weekly to make sure they’re lice free. If a child has a nit (lice egg) or lice, it’s important to remove all lice with a special comb and to treat the child’s hair (kits can be obtained at pharmacies). All toys and bedding should be washed or isolated for 48 hours, and carpets should be vacuumed. It’s also important to check everyone else in the house and to keep rechecking everyone for the next two weeks. Please see information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention below.
Additionally, there are some studies showing that certain oils and sents may repel lice naturally (https://www.healthline.com/health/lice/head-lice-prevention#good-habits). Some of these include
- Tea Tree Oil
To be proactive, I add a few drops of peppermint oil to every new bottle of shampoo or conditioner (if you do this, be careful not to get it in your eyes). I also use Fairy Tales Lice Repellant Spray on my kids before they go to school. There are similar sprays made by other companies as well.
Putting hair into a tight ponytail or braid can help the reduce the risk of lice. It’s also a good idea to try to teach kids to hug without touching heads (hugging is often how children spread lice to eachother).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the following:
Head lice are spread most commonly by direct head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact. However, much less frequently they are spread by sharing clothing or belongings onto which lice have crawled or nits attached to shed hairs may have fallen. The risk of getting infested by a louse that has fallen onto a carpet or furniture is very small. Head lice survive less than 1–2 days if they fall off a person and cannot feed; nits cannot hatch and usually die within a week if they are not kept at the same temperature as that found close to the scalp.
The following are steps that can be taken to help prevent and control the spread of head lice:
- Avoid head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact during play and other activities at home, school, and elsewhere (sports activities, playground, slumber parties, camp).
- Do not share clothing such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, hair ribbons, or barrettes.
- Do not share combs, brushes, or towels. Disinfest combs and brushes used by an infested person by soaking them in hot water (at least 130°F) for 5–10 minutes.
- Do not lie on beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have recently been in contact with an infested person.
- Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that an infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry-cleaned OR sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.
- Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay. However, spending much time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid reinfestation by lice or nits that may have fallen off the head or crawled onto furniture or clothing.
- Do not use fumigant sprays or fogs; they are not necessary to control head lice and can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
To help control a head lice outbreak in a community, school, or camp, children can be taught to avoid activities that may spread head lice.
Wednesday, 29 November 2017 2:04 AM