Valentine’s Day gives us a unique opportunity to express our love. Families show love by protecting one another and do everything in their power to keep each other out of harm’s way. This definitely includes head lice. Did you know that children between the ages of 3 to 10 are more likely to catch lice than any other age group? According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention 6 to 12 million children these ages will contract head lice this year. Adults or teenagers living with these small children are also at risk. How can parents show their love by protecting children from head lice?
Have a Heart to Heart About Head Lice
Talk to your kids about the ways head lice are commonly passed on. Lice do not have wings, fly or jump from person to person. They’re only transferred from head to head contact or if someone passes on nits or lice from something they have used on their hair. For example, if your child is sharing plastic crowns and hairbows at dress up play time they are at risk. If young kids are sharing beanies outside or playing football with their friend’s helmet, they are at risk. It is therefore important to teach children NOT to share headgear or any accessories that are placed on the head.
Teenagers are not off the hook! Selfies have been deemed modern lice transportation, as young teens sometimes obliviously push their heads together to view photos and videos on smartphones for hours at a time. Bluetooth devices and headphones are also possible ways to catch a nit or louse. The bottom line is awareness. Talk to your kids and keep them thinking about how to avoid direct contact.
When your child is at someone else’s home make sure they know not to share stuffed animals, pillows, towels, or blankets. If they are having a movie night or slumber party, bring their own belongings. Once they return home, throw them in the dryer on high for 20 minutes to eliminate any risk of infection.
Fix Her Hair for School and Play
Girls are often more at risk than boys. Longer hair can be more prone to catching lice as it brushes up against people or clothing, and it offers a warmer environment for lice to reproduce and thrive. Keep hair up and out of the way! Place it in quick, easy ponytails or french braids. Any type of hairstyle will do, as long as it gets her hair up and protects it from coming into contact with others.
Catch it Quick with Head Lice Checks
Take a minute or two every other week to perform a head lice check on your child’s scalp. We also offer these at Lice Clinics of America, Lexington in case you are unsure what to look for. Diagnosing head lice can be quite difficult at times. We recommend that you take a fine tooth comb and investigate the scalp looking for indications of head lice. Such as red bumps, irritations, patches of inflamed skin, or yellow eggs attached to hair strands near the base of the scalp. Catching the problem early on can prevent spreading to your entire family.