This is a scary topic for moms. I know, I get it. I have been there. My child has come home from school with head lice. I also have a lot of experience with head lice as a former school nurse. It’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. There is a lot of information out there about head lice and so much of it is incorrect.
Let’s start with some basic facts about head lice.
It doesn’t matter if your hair is washed or unwashed. They actually thrive in clean hair.
Lice do not jump, fly or swim. The most common way for your child to get it is to have head to head contact with another child who has lice.
They are unable to live on pets, in carpet, on furniture of bedding.
Lice does not carry disease, they are also not dangerous although they are a nuisense.
Here is what I recommend when you get that dreaded call from school.
I know, I know. This is easy to say, but try not to panic. It’s not the end of the world, just a little hiccup. This whole situation will go much smoother if you try to have a good attitude about it. You’re probably thinking, a good attitude about my kid having lice?? Yep. My son had lice in kindergarten. He came home and I found it. I literally found 1 live louse and no nits (eggs). I freaked out. Which in turn freaked out my poor child. He cried and felt guilty and was so upset. He’s now in 3rd grade and he came home last week with lice. This time all was calm in our house. No crying. No one was upset. Just remember this isn’t your child’s fault, this isn’t the child’s fault that shared them and it isn’t the school’s fault. It is just simply something that happens.
Check Your Child’s Hair
Take a peek and see what is going on. It may just be a few live lice and some nits. It may be a full-blown infestation. Either way, it’s going to be fine. I’m going to include some photos below of nit. Nits are stuck onto the hair, they are somewhat hard to remove and are usually close to the scalp. Lice are little bugs that are about the size and shape of a grain of rice.
Head Out To The Store For a Lice Kit
I HIGHLY recommend this brand for lice prevention and treatment. This is the exact brand that I recommended to all of my parents when I was a school nurse. This is the brand that I purchase if needed in our home. This is a more natural and safer route than other lice treatment kits. Mom Tip: **Have a kit on hand so that when this happens, you don’t have to rush out for one.**
Pick Those Bugs Out!
The lice treatment kit is probably going to tell you to just use their product. I’m going to tell you to first, pick all live bugs out. In my experience as a school nurse, I would pick them out and place them on a piece of scotch tape, that way they don’t get away and you can dispose of easily. Search their heads a couple of good times, you’re more than likely going to miss some. They’re hard to see and quick. Afterward, start your treatment and then works on removing the nits with the nit comb. These are lice eggs that haven’t hatched. If any are left behind they will hatch, most lice treatments do not kill nits only live lice, that’s why it’s important to remove all nits.
Clean Up The House
Lice can’t live off of a human for very long but I still highly recommend washing all sheets, pillows, stuffed animals, hats and coats that the child used. I give the house a quick vacuuming. Don’t forget to wash clean hairbrushes and combs. I honestly don’t know if this does anything or not but it always makes me feel better.
- If you’re overwhelmed or you think that you can’t get all lice and nits, do a quick google search for a Lice Clinic near you. These places are pretty good. They’re super helpful but somewhat expensive.
- Don’t cut your child’s hair on a whim because they have lice! I do prefer to keep my boys hair short all of the time because it’s much easier to spot lice and treat them but it’s never a good idea to run out cut it short because they have lice.
- It’s good practice to use a prevention spray like this one or adding some tea tree oil to your current shampoo.
- Recheck your child’s hair in 7-10 days. It takes about 7 days for nits to hatch. It’s pretty common to miss a nit or two in the beginning. Just remove them all and try everything again.
- If your child has a major infestation or recurring lice, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician.
- If you have any questions or concerns try to contact your child’s school nurse or local health department.
Remember, if your child gets lice. Don’t panic. It’ll all be okay, this is a normal part of having a child in school!