Lice: A Parent’s Nightmare

Lice may be every parents’ nightmare, but it does not have to be as bad as it seems. Learning the truth about them and ahead of time can help ease the anxiety if you are ever faced with this situation.

First things first, lice don’t discriminate against human hosts. This means no matter what the child’s background is or how clean or dirty their hair or home is, they are equally susceptible to getting lice. They are generally spread through head-to-head contact and less commonly, through the sharing of combs, hats, or helmets. However, because they feed on blood for survival, they can only live on these items for 1-2 days. Thankfully, lice don’t carry diseases and unless someone is allergic to head louse bites, they won’t necessarily itch.

If your child is sent home from school with lice, don’t be alarmed! Take a deep breath and follow these guidelines:

  • Check your child’s head for lice yourself. Also check any family members for lice as well. For help with that, here are some steps
  • Call your doctor to set up an appointment for treatment and advice. Make sure to take any family member you believe may be infected as well.
  • If you prescribed any medication, make sure to get proper tutorial from pharmacist on how to use it.
  • Collect any potentially infested items in your home and machine wash them in hot water, and tumble dry on high. If items can’t be washed, place them in plastic bags and seal for 2 weeks.
  • You may also want to reach out to parents of children who have had close contact with your child. Make sure you notify your child’s school and cancel any play dates until your child is lice free.

Again, the biggest thing you need to do when faced with this situation is to remain calm. Consult your child’s doctor as soon as possible so that treatment can be assigned. Do not try to use household pest sprays to get rid of these insects as they will not do much good.