One of the most common issues people with children worry about when they send their little ones to child care or school is head lice. Even parents of infants worry about head lice. While lice may not serve any significant risk to your child's health, they can be a nuisance and can prompt infection if the child itches their head too often. Even clean facilities can experience lice outbreaks. This guide helps you understand lice.
How Common Is Head Lice?
Millions of cases of lice occur each year, most often in young children. While many people think an infant does not have enough hair to carry lice, children of all hair lengths may pick up head lice.
People typically get lice from having head-to-head contact with those who have the insects. Children are common targets for lice because they spend a lot of time in close contact or share clothing.
How Can You Identify Head Lice?
You can identify head lice first by your child feeling itchy on their head. If you are able to catch sight of the pests themselves, you will see they are about the size of a sesame seed.
Lice feel so invasive because a female can lay multiple eggs every single day. You may notice the eggs, or nits, before you even notice lice.
How Can You Prevent Head Lice?
One of the first things you should do to prevent the spread of head lice is prevent children from sharing items that touch the head, including clothing, hats, towels, and hair brushes. Even infant-sized brushes and combs can transmit lice. Children should also not touch heads or hair with each other.
You can also educate parents and children about the need to avoid spreading lice. Head checks and informational pamphlets help spread the message that even clean, hygienic places can carry lice.
Finally, you can prevent lice by cleaning and sanitizing any area that your child's head may have come into contact with. In a child care center or school, these necessary areas to clean include mats, exercise areas, and furniture.
How Can You Treat Lice?
You can treat lice at home in most cases. Most stores sell lice medications that are safe to use on children. If you are worried about your infant's exposure to lice shampoo, you should consult with your pediatrician. After a shampoo, you can use a comb to pull out lice that remain behind.
You should also treat items in your home that have come into contact with lice. Wash items in hot water and then dry them on high to kill the bugs.
Finally, don't be afraid to ask your local child care centers (such as Kids Country Club) or schools what they are doing to combat lice and bring awareness to the issue.