While head lice can occur at any time, most new infestations tend to happen in the back-to-school season. In schools, students come into close contact with each other and many young kids just love sharing their personal space with each other. Close contact is all an eager female louse bug needs to secure a new host.
Fortunately, deterring the blood-eating pests isn’t impossible or terribly complex. With consistency, a bit of knowledge, and the right tools, keeping the pesky vermin away from your kid’s head can be easily managed.
Keep reading for five expert tips to help your family avoid catching head lice throughout the fall season, as well as all year long.
Talk About Head Lice
Educate your family about head lice. This will help kids understand how these hungry bugs travel from person to person and how to prevent them from setting up shop in their hair. Accurate information will also reduce misinformation about head lice and the stigma traditionally attached to contracting an infestation.
How to Avoid Lice in the Classroom
When at school, encourage your kids to adhere to the following guidelines and behaviours that help to prevent head lice:
- Avoid head-to-head contact with friends.
- Don’t share hats, scarves, hoodies, jackets, or any other clothing item that may come in contact with loose hair.
- Don’t keep clothing items in a friend’s cubby or locker.
- Never use another person’s brush, comb or hair accessories.
- Never lend hair ties, headbands, combs or hairbrushes to friends.
- Don’t share, swap or “try-out” earbuds or headphones.
Lice Isn’t a Dirty Word
A lice infestation is often judged as a sign that an individual or family has poor hygiene. This is entirely untrue; an infection should not be seen as a reflection of health or personal habits. Head lice much prefer clinging to hair shafts that are clean! That’s because they can more easily lay eggs on hair that is washed and free of treatments.
Unfortunately, the stigma attached to catching lice prevents many families from reporting infestations to teachers, daycares, or other community members, which inadvertently spreads it further. Teaching children that catching lice isn’t shameful – and that it’s okay to talk about, can lower transmission rates.
Use Hair Care Products Daily
The use of louse deterring hair care solutions is an effective line of defence against catching the creepy critters. There are several products available online and at kid-friendly salons that are safe for use in children.
Examples of lice repellent hair care products include:
- Leave-In Spray
- Styling Gel
When shopping for lice deterrent products, be sure to use ones with essential oils proven to steer the insects away, such as tea tree oil, rosemary oil, lavender oil, oregano oil, or citronella. Use these products every day as part of your child’s hair care routine for best results.
Know the Signs of a Head Lice Infestation
Early detection of head lice is vital to eliminate an infestation quickly without doing numerous, time-consuming treatments. If your child develops any of the following behaviours, they could be a sign that more than just math homework has come home with them.
Signs and Symptoms of Head Lice
- Excessive itching of the scalp, especially at night.
- Tingling sensations on the scalp
- Waking up during the night due to an itchy head.
- Red bumps or tiny bite marks on the scalp and nape of the neck.
Learn To Check for Lice
Until you’ve experienced your first encounter with a head lice infestation, you may not know how to check for them on your child’s hair and scalp. These bugs move quickly and are exceptional at hiding in hair. It is very challenging to find an adult louse. Diagnosing an active case of head lice requires relying on other observations than seeing a moving bug.
Lice Checking Tips
1.Stay Close to the scalp
Lice live on the scalp and lay their eggs, or nits, on the roots of hair strands. When checking for signs of a possible infestation, look at the scalp and hair that’s closest to the head.
2.Use a Head Lamp
Bright lighting is essential when investigating a potential lice infestation. Use a headlamp or have someone hold a flashlight to illuminate the scalp and hair roots being inspected.
3.Divide Hair Into Sections
A thorough review of hair is important when checking for lice. Divide hair into sections using strong hair clips. Once hair is divided and secure, use a lice comb or a very fine tooth comb and go through each section.
4.Take Your Time
Checking for lice is time-consuming. Be prepared to spend an hour or more studying your child’s head very closely. Consider putting on their favourite movie or TV show for your child while you hunt for the pests to reduce the frustrations.
5.Check All Household Members
Lice are sneaky and can travel fast from person to person. If one person is suspected of being infected, chances are they aren’t the only one. Be sure to inspect every head in the home to prevent an overwhelming infestation from developing.
Keep Hair Tied Back
Kids with long, loose hair at school are more likely to contract lice than those with hair-dos that neatly secure their tresses. Examples of kid’s hairstyles that can help deter unwanted bugs include:
- French braids
- Ballet bun
To secure fly-away and fine hairs, reinforce the hairstyle with barrettes, hair clips, a headband, and a good spritz of hairspray.
Lice Happens – Be Prepared
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, kids may still develop a case of head lice. If that does happen, it’s essential to have the right tools and products on hand to eradicate the vermin as quickly as possible. Our online shop has amazing products to help keep bugs at bay that are safe for daily use. Visit our website, or stop by our Hillside Mall location, for more information and great kid-friendly hair care products.