As most of our children have now started back to school one of the most common issues we begin seeing is Head Lice. Children are more susceptible to an infestation due to the close contact they share at school or on the bus. The presence of small oval shaped eggs called nits which are attached to the hairs. Usually you will find these close to the ears or the lower part of the neck line. These are inactive and do not move as they are cemented to the hair by the female. Typically, they will hatch in 5-10 days and can reproduce within 3 weeks. The adults are grayish brown and usually will be about 1/8 long with a flat body.
Teaching your children that sharing things like jackets, hats, headbands, or hair ties should be something they avoid. Another way that you can make it more difficult for head lice to get onto your child’s hair, could be to put their hair in pony tails or to braid their hair.
Again education and understanding is the best form of prevention. Head lice cannot jump or fly, their only means of spreading is direct contact. By ensuring we can limit the contact and reduce the amount of available hair to latch onto we can help reduce the spread.
Thoroughly inspecting and checking your children’s hair on a weekly basis may help you to catch an infestation early.
Just being in the same room with someone that has lice will not necessarily mean they will have them. Remember they only spread through direct contact.
There are various over the counter treatments for head lice but keeping in mind that removal of the nits (eggs) will be the key.
Pest control providers do not apply products for head lice as they are a medical issue and do not typically live off the host for very long. Washing clothes in hot soapy water as well as all bedding and placing in the dryer on a high heat cycle to kill any eggs or lice that may have become dislodged. Vacuuming all hair throughout will also remove any possible nits that may have dropped.
Continue your weekly checks and if you suspect an infestation consult a medical professional.