Does Your Child Have Head Lice? Things You Must Do

There was some news last week from the Center for Disease Control that some head lice are becoming harder to treat. They have apparently done an evolutionary type of “change” and some seem to be adapting to specific shampoos used to eradicate them. This could be a parent’s worst nightmare. Take heart however, pyrethrin shampoos are still the best way to get rid of head lice.

Head lice seem to be very hardy bugs and have been around for thousands of years. They are very contagious if your child comes into direct contact with the head of someone who is infected. You can also come into contact with head lice by sharing combs and brushes, or hats. Head lice can also be picked up from sharing pillows and from some upholstered furniture. It is a good idea to keep any area where the person infected with head lice may sit vacuumed before, during, and after the treatment process.

If your child comes into contact with head lice at home it is very important that you notify his/her school and any playmates immediately. If your child is under two years of age it is best to contact your pediatrician for head lice treatment advice as most pyrethrin shampoos are generally not recommended for children under the age of two.

Using a shampoo formulated to specifically kill head lice is still the most effective method of eradication. Make sure that you follow the directions exactly. Pay close attention to the thickness and length of the hair of the infected individual. You may need to use more shampoo to ensure proper coverage. As with treating other types of infestations, such as fleas, head lice sometimes need to be treated twice. Head lice shampoos have some difficulty penetrating the head lice eggs which can hatch generally a week to ten days after the first treatment. A second shampoo treatment usually kills all the freshly hatched head lice. Don’t be upset, many times a second head lice treatment is necessary. The use of the nit comb is also an important part of treatment. The nit comb is specifically designed with small very close teeth. This nit comb will help you to comb out all killed and dying head lice from the scalp/hair which is the best way to keep an eye on the progress you are making.

Clothing and bedding will also need to be washed on a daily basis during treatment. Use hot water to wash clothing. Any hat or scarf or clothing item that came into contact with the head lice infested individual will need to be dry-cleaned if you can’t wash them.

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