Your Child Has Lice – Here's What to Do
More of a nuisance than a danger, lice are especially common among schoolchildren. If your child has head lice, you'll probably want to know exactly what the insects are and find out all about lice treatment for kids.
There is plenty to learn about lice in children – most importantly, how to treat them and make future infections less likely. Continue reading for some facts that will help you combat head lice.
What Are Lice?
Nesting in body regions with hair, these parasitic insects feed on human blood. There are three types of lice that live on humans (head lice, body lice and pubic lice), but we’re going to focus on the ones you’d most likely encounter: head lice. These live on the scalp and are found in three forms: adults (which lay head lice eggs), nits (which hatch into nymphs), and baby lice.
Lice in children are commonly discovered because they give the sensations of itching and tickling on the head. The bites of head lice also leave marks, commonly visible on the neck and shoulders, that turn red when they are scratched.
Apart from these symptoms, the lice can also be seen by the naked eye on the hair or clothing. The adult bugs are about the size of a sesame seed, while head lice eggs are quite a bit smaller but can easily be seen around the ears and the nape of the neck. These nits are often mistaken for dandruff but are not as easy to brush off.
How Do Lice Spread?
There’s an erroneous belief that head lice are a sign of bad hygiene. However, lice actually spread through head-to-head contact, mostly during children’s playtime, regardless of the cleanliness of either head. Another method of transmission is via furniture or closely packed items. Head lice can be spread by sharing clothes and accessories that come into direct contact with the head of an infected person.
Best Lice Treatment for Kids
If your child has lice, there are several methods to remove them. You should know that lice treatment for kids can take up to three weeks to complete, which is necessary to make sure no head lice eggs, baby lice, or adults are left behind.
The most important item for treating lice in children is a fine-toothed comb. With it, you can remove individual lice by thoroughly combing the child's wet hair. You should comb this way even when using other remedies.
Some of the medicines for lice treatment for kids require a prescription, while others don’t. Even if you’ve decided on the over-the-counter medicine, you should consult with a doctor before visiting the pharmacy. Always remember the medicine must be handled carefully, the directions on the package must be followed, and children should never be left to apply it by themselves.
Besides the usual remedies, there are alternative methods at your disposal, although they’re not proven to work all the time. However, head lice can and do develop a resistance to some of the usual medicines, so if those don’t work, there are many oils or other home remedies you could try. Consult your doctor about those as well.
Will the Lice Come Back?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to prevent the lice from reappearing since it would take an unrealistic amount of self-discipline from your child to avoid all contact and not share things with their friends. However, if your child gets a new infestation of head lice, what you’ve learned here about the annoying infection will come in handy and you’ll have a much easier time getting the pesky bugs out of your kids' hair.