Kids get lice because they are in close contact with each other. Head lice infestations are so common at preschools and primary schools because kids are more likely to have head-to-head contact when they play together.
A couple things that usually don’t spread lice: contact with scarves, hats, and other clothing, and using the hair brush or comb of someone who’s infected.
What to look out for:
Lice can be found as eggs (nit) or adult (lice)
Nits are very hard to spot, but can be seen with the naked eye if you know what you are looking for. Nits are oval-shaped and about the size of a sesame seed, if you haven’t seen them before you may mistake them for dandruff, scabs or dried hair product. They attach themselves to the base of the hair shaft. They tend to blend in with your hair colour as a survival mechanism. Even Better! *eye roll*
How do you know they have them?
Well realistically you should be checking weekly even if you don’t notice the tell-tale signs. If your child starts scratching her head, complaining of an itchy scalp that keeps her awake at night, or saying her head tickles, then she might have a case of lice.
The Fact is your kids having Lice is frustrating but it is not something to be embarrassed about! Most kids will have them as its natural for kids to sit closely in class or in the playground. If you do spot an infestation, contact your kid’s teacher as they might want to send a head lice notice around.
You can use a weekly Preventative Treatment like a spray or shampoo. Tea Tree oil added to your usual shampoo can deter the lice as they don’t like the scent, you may need to do a patch test on the nape of the neck to ensure no reaction to the oil.
There are also Tea Tree based Shampoos and Conditioners which is a more natural form of preventing an infestation.
Comb the hair weekly to check for eggs, use a nit comb that has specially made teeth to get right into the scalp and lift the eggs.
If you do happen to have an infestation, cover the child’s shoulders with a towel and get your comb. Comb through (use conditioner to help glide through long/knotty hair) and remove all traces of eggs and lice on the head. Do this over the bath to contain the infestation. Then go in with a treatment, these are usually left in for a few hours or overnight. When they time is up wash out and check that you got all the infestation.
The Key to avoiding a re-infestation is to check the head 6/7 days after treating by thoroughly combing through, sometimes very small eggs may have been missed and have since hatched.
You may worry about asthma and Treatment, most headlice products now have a pleasant smell and that strong odour is no longer in them. To be sure check with your pharmacist, especially if the child has broken skin or any skin conditions.