Get the right tools, comb patiently and make sure your washing machine is in working order.
Lice is a menace.
“I had treated kids with lice in clinic, but it wasn’t until my own kids brought those scratchy, nasty bugs into our house that I truly understood their impact,” says Dr. Hannah Chow-Johnson, a pediatrician at Loyola University Health System.
People often assume that if you get lice, you must live in a dirty household and never wash your hair. But Chow says this isn’t the case.
“There is no shame in having lice. In fact, they are attracted to clean, shiny hair,” she asserts.
So, don’t feel bad if your kid comes home with an infested, itchy head. Follow these steps and rest assured that you can tackle this:
1) Get Some Lice Shampoo…and Use It
There are chemical-based shampoos and natural options available for ridding hair of lice. Both have their benefits, and should be used as soon as you can get your hands on them.
2) Buy a Lice Comb
Shampoo deals with half the problem, and half only. It will kill off the lice that’s alive, but you’ll still be left with the eggs, called nits. If you don’t get rid of the nits, the lice problem will resurface as soon as they hatch.
A lice comb typically is very fine toothed, and will help you scrape the eggs off strands of hair.
3) Dig In
If you’re doing this yourself, you’ll need to comb through the hair thoroughly. The nits attach themselves to the hair about an inch or so away from the scalp. Chow has this advice:
- Get a white towel and sit your child by a sink filled with warm water. If your child has longer hair, part it in sections.
- Spray either water or nit spray on a small section of hair, and starting from the roots, pull the comb completely through the strand.
- Rinse the comb and wipe it off with the towel. Repeat until you have combed through all the hairs on your child’s head.
4) Wash Everything You Own
OK, you don’t need to shampoo the carpets. But you should throw everything you or your child may have come in contact with recently in the wash. Use hot water as it will kill the beasts.
If you cannot wash something, place it in a sealed trash bag for a minimum of 72 hours. Don’t forget to include car seat covers, back packs, hats, coats and bedding.
5) Check Daily
Once the lice is gone, check heads daily to make sure the coast is clear.
For more tips on dealing with lice, click here.