Preventing and Treating Head Lice

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We got the dreaded note last week informing us that our son has a classmate with head lice. Of all highly contagious childhood maladies, few are skeevier. Lice don't last long without feeding on a host (your head), but the more heads in your house, the higher the chances of lice making themselves comfortable in your home. So what do you do?

Prevention and Control

The CDC says to avoid head to head contact. Don't share hats, scarves, sports uniforms, hair accessories, combs, brushes, or towels. 

Combs and brushes can be disinfested by soaking in hot water for 5-10 minutes. All clothing and bed linens used by an infested person for two days prior to treatment should be machine washed and dried using hot water and high heat. Web MD recommends that plush sleep companions go in a hot dryer for 20 minutes. Non-washable soft goods should be dry-cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag and stored for two weeks.  Vacuum the floor and furniture. 

Treatment 

Combing and removing all lice, nymphs, and nits is the best course of treatment. It is painstaking and time-consuming work, and it's particularly hard to do to yourself. There are "lice salons" that will perform the service, like Hair Fairies. Prescription treatments like Ulefsia and Sklice are fast and effective, but they aren't ideal for kids with certain medical conditions or pregnant or breastfeeding women. There's a natural product called Quit Nits that's a safer alternative.   

We hope to keep our kids critter-free, but if we get any uninvited guests we know exactly what to do.

(Image: Shutterstock)

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