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How To Preventing and Avoiding Head Lice

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Updated May 20, 2014

Boy putting pants on hanger
Marilyn Conway/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

Although the focus of parents and pediatricians is usually on treating head lice infestations, in this day of resistant head lice, which are requiring tougher treatments, it is probably even more important to teach your kids to avoid head lice.

And since head lice can't jump from child to child or crawl in to your home, preventing head lice infestations isn't as hard as it may sound.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 10 minutes a week

Here's How:

  1. Encourage your kids to avoid sharing things that have been on or near another child's head, including hairbrushes, combs, hats, scarves, towels, helmets, pillows, sleeping bags, etc.
  2. Teach your kids to hang up their coat and hat on an individual hook, or some other separate area, when they get to school, instead of just throwing them in a pile with other classmates' clothing.
  3. Regularly clean things that your child's head has direct contact with, such as car seats, pillows, head phones, etc., if you are sharing these items with other children.
  4. Review some head lice pictures to help you understand what you are looking for in your child's hair, including live lice and nits (lice eggs).
  5. Check your child for nits and live head lice at least once a week, keeping in mind that although you may find head lice anywhere, they are often found at the back of your child's head, near his neck and behind his ears.
  6. Recognize the symptoms of head lice, which includes an itchy scalp and small red bumps or sores on the back of your child's neck and scalp. Don't panic, though, if your child must be treated for head lice.

Tips:

  1. Be extra vigilant for head lice if there have been frequent reports of head lice at your child's school or in your child's classroom.
  2. Review the head lice preventing steps before and after sleepovers, school field trips or when your child goes to camp.
  3. Wash your child's hair with a regular shampoo and hair conditioner and then check your child's hair after you rinse and dry it, but while it is still damp. The hair conditioner can make it easier to comb through your child's hair.
  4. Remove all of the nits on your child's head when your child has lice, since missing some nits (lice eggs) is a common way for kids to have a persistent infection, as lice keep hatching and keep the infestation going.

What You Need

  • Head lice comb to make it easier to check for live lice and nits.
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