Head Lice Treatment 101: Don’t Shave Any Heads Just Yet!
Head lice can be scary and overwhelming for parents, especially if your child has never had them before. However, head lice are fairly common, with 6 to 12 million children diagnosed with head lice every year. While they are an annoyance, they are not a risk to your child’s health.
Before you do anything, take a breath; don’t panic if your child comes home with head lice.
To attack head lice you need to get rid of the lice themselves as well as their eggs, known as nits. It is possible that you could miss a nit or two, so be prepared with multiple head lice remedies in case you need to treat additional times.
At Home Head Lice Remedies
You don’t need to shave your child’s head! There are plenty of remedies you can do at home to both treat and prevent lice before taking any drastic measures.
With a fine-toothed comb, separate your child’s hair into sections and manually extract the bugs and nits from his/her hair.
After you have manually removed as many as you can see, you will want to make sure you treat the scalp in case there were any nits or bugs you missed. Products such as Vaseline, hair gel, mayonnaise, or olive oil can be used to coat your child’s scalp; once applied, cover with a shower cap and let sit overnight. Wash it out in the morning and comb through again for nits.
Over the Counter Head Lice Treatment
If you don’t feel like covering your child’s head in mayonnaise, there are over the counter remedies available at your local pharmacy. Popular products include RID, Nix, LiceMD and ClearLice; most are shampoos or gels that both kill the infestation and treat your scalp overnight. Carefully follow the instructions and comb through your child’s hair to check for any nits that may have been missed. Check again about a week after treatment.
Launder Clothes and Bedding
Once you have treated, it is important to ensure no lice remain in your house. While head lice don’t spread easily from pillows, furniture or clothes, it helps to take as many precautions as possible. Lice can remain on these items for 1–2 days, so wash any items your child has come into contact with in the last 24–48 hours in hot water. Anything that cannot be washed should be sealed in a plastic bag for 1–2 weeks.
It is also recommended to check out the rest of the family, just in case your child came into direct contact with anyone after developing head lice. If necessary, treat every family member accordingly.
If you notice that the lice keep coming back after several attempts at getting rid of them, contact Dakota Pediatrics for expert treatment and a possible prescription to rid your child of this irritant once and for all.