Head lice is a common issue among school-aged children and we can guess that getting rid of them is definitely not how you want to spend your free time. Since it’s important to be vigilant about this pesky problem, here are some tips to help you protect your children from lice this school year. On the chance they do get head lice, we have some great suggestions for removal as well.
5 Ways to Prevent Head Lice This School Year
1. Teach Your Kids – It’s important to teach your kids about head lice. There are some great educational books available or you can do research online. It’s important they know what head lice and their eggs look like and how head lice are spread. Go over the common rules such as not sharing hats or hair brushes, looking over another child’s shoulder during device sharing, and for the pre-teens and teenagers, avoid head to head SELFIES (they’re becoming the biggest culprit for this age bracket).
2. Once a Week, Take a Peek – This step is critical. If you don’t check for head lice how will you know when your child has it? When checking your child, especially in the beginning of a head lice infestation, you might not see the live lice right away. Look for the tear-shaped eggs which are caramel or light brown in colour. They don’t come off easily because of the cement-like glue substance that holds them in place. Always check the hot spots located behind the ears, the crown of the head, and nape.
3. Use Essential Oil Spray – There are several Essential Oil Sprays on the market that can help deter head lice from making your child’s head their home. Look for sprays that contain pure Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lemon, and/or Lavender for best results. After ensuring there isn’t an allergy, spray lightly over the hair and on the hood and collar of your child’s coat and in their hat.
4. Give Head Lice a Zap – Before an infestation ever occurs, you need live head lice. One live louse can be tricky to find, if you run a zapper (handheld electronic comb) through your child’s dry hair, you have a better chance of catching the live lice and instantly stopping an infestation in its tracks.
5. Invest in a good Head Lice Comb – Choose a comb with long metal tines. Look for grooved tines as well as they pull the eggs from the shaft more effectively. Soak your child’s hair with a white-based conditioner and then use your head lice comb to go through. For the best chance of egg removal, comb in all directions. Eggs are laid on only one side of the hair shaft. Use white napkins to clean the comb as you go through, this will help you see any lice or present. Once this is complete, your child can wash out their hair in the shower or bath.
If your kiddo does come home with head lice, don’t panic! Head lice don’t hop, jump, or fly. They prefer the human head and need a blood meal to survive. Without a blood meal, after 48 hours the louse will die.
5 Ways to Safely Remove Head Lice
1. Reduction Combing – Not only is reduction combing with a proper head lice comb the best way to prevent head lice, it’s also the most reliable method of removal. Comb in all four directions and section your child’s hair properly.
2. Enzyme Shampoos – Enzyme shampoos are eco-friendly and act as a cleaner, they help break down the exoskeletons and loosen the glue that holds the eggs to the hair shaft.
3. Mineral Solutions – This newer method of head lice removal impacts head lice and their eggs by sucking out the moisture on contact.
4. Oil Soaks – Head lice have spiracles that they use to breathe. Once an oil soak is applied, the spiracles can get clogged and the lice will smother. Note: Head lice can hold their breath for up to 8 hours, so it’s best to apply the oil at night and let it soak until morning.
5. Zappers – Just as described in the prevention method, when the zapper is applied to dry hair, it rids any louse found during this process. Note: Zappers only work on head lice, not eggs.
Remember head lice are nothing to be ashamed of. It’s hard to avoid because you can’t control the actions others take to prevent and remove head lice, but you can control yours.