A Survival Guide for Head Lice

Monday, June 26, 2017

It is estimated that 6 to 12 million cases of head lice occur each year in the United States. Unfortunately, the majority of cases are spread among children ages 3-11. If your child is one of the millions to encounter a head lice infestation, here’s what you can do to get rid of them.

What To Look For

Head lice are tiny parasites that live on the human head. While they don’t spread disease, they are itchy and bothersome. An adult louse has six legs and is about the size of a sesame seed and can vary in color from beige to gray. Eggs appear at the bottom of the hair stalks and range in color from white to yellow to brown.

The best spots to check for lice are behind the ears or along the hairline at the back of the neck, where the hair is thinner.

Signs Your Child Has Lice

Itchiness is the most common symptom for head lice; but this isn’t the first or only sign. Other symptoms can include a tickling feeling, sores from scratching, irritability, difficulty sleeping, red bumps on the head and neck, and the appearance of small white objects in the hair.

Symptoms can sometimes take weeks to develop, so checking your child for lice periodically can help catch it early and reduce spreading them to other children or family members.

How Lice Spread

Children tend to pick up lice from other children and tend to pass them onto family members. This is because lice cannot hop, jump or fly; they crawl. They can be transferred from direct head-to-head contact, from pillowcases, or from hairbrushes – as they can live for days off a human head.

How to Remove Lice

Once you’ve discovered your child has lice it’s important to begin removing them right away and to make sure you let your child’s teacher or daycare provider know your child has head lice in order to prevent an epidemic.

Once you purchase an over-the-counter lice-removal kit, you can begin the tedious process of removing the lice from the head. Be sure to follow the directions on the package and combing through the hair thoroughly with the provided nit brush.

Once the nits (adolescents) and adults have been removed from the hair, the next step is to ensure the rest of your home is lice-free. To do this, you’ll need to:

  • Wash clothes, bedding, pillows, and comforters in hot water

  • Vacuum the bed, pillows, and couches

  • Change bedding, towels, and pajamas

  • Seal non-washable items (like stuffed animals and hair bands) in a plastic bag for two weeks or until the head lice are completely gone

Two weeks after using the lice-removal kit, it is important to do it again to ensure you remove any lice that have hatched since the last treatment.

Head lice are often thought of as a dirty thing, but in reality, lice are attracted to clean, well-groomed hair more. We hope this guide is helpful for if you ever encounter head lice on your child.

Kids & Company offers so much more than the typical Orlando daycare. Free hot meals, free PM transportation, after school care until 7pm, and we even have the option for Saturday and night care at our Curry Ford location. With two locations in Orlando, there is a convenient location for you and your child. If you have any questions about our programs, including infant care, childcare, VPK, or after school programs give us a call at (407) 227-1015.

Staff 6/26/2017

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