How to Lower Your Child’s Odds of Getting Lice

Getting treatment for lice should be a priority of any household, as lice do not go away on their own. If you ignore the problem, likely, you, your family, your friends, and their loved ones will all get infested eventually.

“No Nit Policy” in Schools

Most schools in the United States follow the National Pediculosis Association’s “No Nit Policy,” which means that a school will not permit a child to enter their premises unless the said child is free of nits. However, a growing number of experts and parents are saying that a “No Nit Policy” is an overreaction. In fact, the National Association of School Nurses and American Academy of Pediatrics are against the strict policy, stating that children should be allowed to attend classes as soon as they have begun the necessary treatment to eliminate the lice.

Furthermore, despite many teachers, parents, and medical professionals being aware that head lice are not associated with poor hygiene, many other children may taunt and humiliate a peer who has head lice. Therefore, considering the dangers of spreading a louse infestation and the bullying a child with head lice may face, the policy remains in most educational institutions.

Lice and Risk of Infections

While uncommon, children scratching their heads can contract secondary infections of the skin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these infections can range from mild to severe. If you’re a parent or legal guardian, the last thing you want is to put your children at risk of more discomfort and the need for further treatments.

How to Prevent Head Lice

The CDC recommends the following steps to prevent and control the spread of head lice:

  • Ensure your child avoids head-to-head or hair-to-hair contact during playtime and other physical activities at home, school, and elsewhere (playground, slumber parties, sports activities, camp).
  • Do not share hairbrushes, combs, or towels. If someone in your household has head lice, disinfect the hairbrush or comb they used by soaking them in hot water (at least 54°C or 130°F) for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Do not share accessories that are typically used around the head and neck area. These include hair ribbons, hats, scarves, hoodies, and coats. To be safe, do not share any type of clothing.
  • Do not lie on beds, pillows, sofas, or carpets that someone with lice recently used. Also, avoid sharing stuffed animals with a person with untreated head lice.
  • Machine wash and dry all bed linens, clothes, and other items that an infested individual used or wore during the two days before getting treatment using the hot water (54°C or 130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle.
  • For clothes and other items that are not washable, dry clean or seal them in a plastic bag before storing them away for two weeks.
  • Vacuum the floor, carpet, and furniture where the infested person sat or lay. However, the CDC claims that spending too much time and money on house cleaning is not necessary to prevent reinfestation.
  • There is no need to use fumigant sprays or fogs to kill head lice that may have fallen off the infested person’s head and crawled onto furniture. The chemicals in such pesticides can cause other health problems if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

Though National Head Lice Prevention Month is observed every September, parents should still check their children for lice during the other months of the year. Follow these tips throughout the seasons to protect your family from lice and nits! For more educational resources, head over to https://www.HeadLice.Org.