If your child has head lice, how do you get rid of it? And fast?
Lice is a rather common parasite that many children encounter. Contrary to popular belief, having a lice infestation does not correlate to one’s hygiene, as lice are very good at transferring from one host to another. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 12 million children between the ages of 3 and 11 are affected by head lice in the United States.
Fortunately, head lice are relatively easy to dispose of, despite the fact that approximately 98% of American lice have genetically mutated to withstand average lice shampoos. When removed from its human host, lice can only survive for 24 hours, and since lice can’t jump or fly, they must rely on cross-dermal contact. Oftentimes it is the sharing of a hat or pillow, a hug or photo-op that causes transference.
There are several ways to combat pediatric head lice. In recent years, new products and medicine have been introduced and are more effective than ever.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you’ll need to use recently developed pediculicide products that will be effective against the latest generation of evolved treatment-resistant lice. New topical treatments are available that will suffocate the lice and destroy the nits (eggs).
What to Do If Your Child Has Lice
First, don’t worry. Lice
Talk to your child’s doctor to get the proper diagnosis and a prescription if needed. Treating head lice is a rather simple procedure, where you apply the pediculicide and comb through the hair with a nit comb (a fine-toothed comb that will collect any remaining eggs). Some ways to treat head lice include:
- Comb-out Method.
Sit your child down and part their wet hair with a
nit-comb. Carefully comb through the hair in small sections. After each comb-through, wipe the comb on a wet paper towel. Examinethe comb and towel for any signs of eggs, larvae, or adult louses. Repeat the comb-through until you’ve deloused the entire scalp.
- Medicinal Treatments.
Check with your child’s doctor before treating lice. Pediculicide treatments are safe and should be used as directed. Never use any home remedies or other household products to treat pediatric head lice (e.g.; petroleum jelly, kerosene, mayonnaise, herbal oils, or other non-medicinal products) as it could do more harm. Some of the most popular pediculicides include permethrin lotion (Nix), pyrethrin shampoo or mousse (Licide, RID, Pronto), and malathion lotion (Ovide).
Preventing Head Lice
While head lice can be itchy, annoying, embarrassing, and recurring, it’s important to remember that it is treatable as well as preventable. The best way to prevent head lice is to avoid any instances where your child is sharing hats or other items that come in contact with the infected skin/hair and are transferred to your child.
Awareness is key, and most schools (when they have in-person classes) are well-equipped to detect lice and will notify parents immediately so as to avoid a full-on outbreak. The best way to prevent pediatric head lice is to inform your kids about lice and how to avoid contracting it.