The dreaded four letter word: LICE

I fear lice, in fact I’m itching my head already already just writing this post.

A friend at work mentioned she just went through a few rounds of lice at her house and that I should write a post about lice. Her biggest insight was that she didn’t need to use chemicals after all (yes, she tried everything including the chemical shampoo) and in her experience the only thing that actually removed the lice was a lice comb and diligence.

Here are some facts and tips about lice to help conquer the most feared head accessory at school.

Be aware
Lice don’t care what neighbourhood you live in or what your annual income is, they are an equal opportunity insect that kids get from interacting with other kids.  Your kid isn’t dirty or uncared for if they get lice so don’t assume that is the case with other families.  Most of the time parents just don’t realize their kids picked up lice from school, or activities their kids participate in. Maybe you child used a brush from a classmate or tried on a hat or helmet in the course of their day.  Most parents don’t think of lice on a daily basis but staying aware of the possibility and educating your kids on what to look out for an avoid may save time and effort later.

Top 10 Lice Tips:

  1. Tell your child not to share brushes or other hair items
  2. Don’t share hats or helmets
  3. If your child is scratching their head a lot – check for lice
  4. Dandruff will fluff away when combed but lice stick to the hair
  5. Do a monthly check regardless of whether or not there is a report from school
  6. If one person in the family has lice assume you all do and check everyone
  7. Wash bedding (all bedding) in hot water and a hot drying cycle and include stuffies
  8. Vacuum your couch and floors and carpets as part of clean up but keep in mind lice live on your head not on objects
  9. Chemicals aren’t needed just a fine comb and diligence – your goal is to remove the adult lice, baby lice and eggs (called nits)
  10. If you feel as though you’ve conquered the lice, check back a week after just to be sure –  these bugs are survivors!

Here are a few articles that have great advice on dealing with lice:

CNN Health Quick Guide: Got head lice?- No need to panic

CNN Health: 5 Steps to comb for lice

Kidshealth: Lice 

School epidemics
On occasion there is an epidemic at a school and in some cases (we know first hand) certain schools just can’t break the cycle of lice. In these cases the parents and PTA or PAC members may choose to fund a school wide lice check throughout the year as a preventative measure.

Here are a few private professional organizations that can help – their websites are full of great info as well:

If you have any advice to share please feel free to share in the comments section below.