Dealing with Head Lice on Children
Head lice is common on children as it can spread from one child’s head to another, whether at school, daycare or playing with friends. It does not depend on how clean someone maybe, as the tiny insects live among the scalp, where it lays eggs (nits).
Lice can be inconvenient, without treatment they will not be able to go away as they may live up to a month on the head, but without warmth, they can only survive for a couple of days. Learn how to keep your child safe and treat lice at home.
How are head lice diagnosed?
Before looking into treatment, it’s important to be able to distinguish the first sign of head lice on your child. Their scalp may feel itchy, but not everyone will experience it the same, as they may not be itchy all the time.
You can check for lice and nits at home, by using a fine-tooth comb and parting the hair in sections. Make sure you have good lighting conditions, as nits look like white dots that can be tiny yellow as well. They are located close to the scalp and may look similar to dandruff. Live lice can be a greyish white and compared to the size of a sesame seed. Check behind your child’s ears, base of the scalp, and the bottom of the neck.
How are they treated?
Remember, it’s important to treat head lice, as they won’t go away without any treatment. There are over-the-counter medicines that kill lice, including creams and shampoos. Talk to your pharmacist to understand how to use the application and make sure that it is safe.
- You will need to use more than one treatment with head lice products. That does not mean purchasing several options, but instead applying continuously. This is to prevent the spread of more lice hatching. Keep in mind your child’s skin may be irritated after a week.
- After treatment, you’ll still need to look out for leftover nits that can be attached to the hair. Use a comb to remove them, as it can make your child comfortable instead of using your hands.
- To prevent the spread, make sure to soak brushes, combs, barrettes and clips under hot water for at least 10 minutes. Machine-wash clothes, as well as bedding, towels and hats in hot water. Sealing in a plastic bag for 14 days is another alternative that may be useful.
- Check your child’s school policy to see if they will be allowed to return back to school. Once starting treatment, children should be able to return back but it depends on the school.
For further information please visit: https://myhealth.alberta.ca/search/Pages/results.aspx?k=lice