Trying to Prevent Head Lice

At times, outbreaks of head lice are so widespread in some schools and communities that there’s little you can do to keep your child’s head insect-free. If your child does catch head lice, ten days to two weeks of daily effort and vigilance will get rid of them.

Meanwhile, be aware that this has become commonplace. Head lice are a pesky, although benign, problem of epidemic proportions. Head lice infestations are most common among elementary school age children. There’s not a whole lot you can do to keep your child from catching head lice, but you can give it the old college try with a few preventive measures:

  1. Teach your children not to share hats, scarves, brushes, combs and hair ornaments with other kids.
  2. Some experts advise washing your child’s hair and linens frequently, using hot water on the bedding and towels.
  3. When there’s a lice problem at school, check your child often for signs of lice.
  4. Encourage your child’s school to enact strict preventive policies, and cooperate with the rules if they’re already in place. These policies may include regular screening at school, and may mean your child gets sent home during an outbreak if lice are found.
  5. Find out where the kids hang their coats and hats at school. If they’re too close together, live head lice (not the nits) can migrate from one to another.
  6. If head lice do infect your children, follow all the instructions carefully to make sure they don’t re-emerge after treatment. This means adhering to all the product label directions, nit-picking, and de-lousing every possible louse habitat in your home, such as bedding, mattresses, pillows and stuffed animals.
  7. Communicate. Don’t be embarrassed. Tell the school and families of playmates when your kids get lice. The chances for preventing an epidemic outbreak increase with prompt and early treatment of lice.