Finding out your son or daughter has lice might seem like a major health risk and a sign of your child’s poor hygiene. However, lice do not cause major health risks beyond possible infection from scratching too much. Still, they are a major source of annoyance and discomfort for your child, and they can spread easily if you don’t take swift and proper action. Learn more about lice and what you can do if your child is a victim of an infestation.
What Are Lice?
Lice are wingless, parasitic insects that feed on blood. There are three major types of lice: head lice, body lice, and pubic lice, all named after the body parts where they’re most likely to manifest. Contrary to popular belief, only body lice spread diseases, but they’re less prominent. Most of society is familiar with head lice, since they’re the most common type around.
Signs of Lice
First, you should make completely sure that your child has lice. You can spot many of the symptoms with a magnifying glass. If you are not sure about the symptoms of lice in your child’s scalp, consult a doctor, school nurse, or a lice removal clinic that provides consumers with head checks.
- Presence of lice eggs, or nits
- Nymphs and adult sized lice
- Red bumps from scratching
Treatment of Lice
Once you have confirmed that your child has lice, it’s time to take care of the problem. Most solutions to head lice infestations involve shampoo, cream rinse, and other medications that are either over-the-counter or are prescription medications, also known as pediculicides. A removal clinic provider or doctor can prescribe these medications. Stronger cases of lice may require oral medication.
- Ensure your child is taking the correct medication, including shampoo, for his or her age level.
- Follow the directions on the medications, since lice treatment products are insecticides, which may harm your child if not used carefully.
- Keep your child from school until he or she takes medication. If your child has nits, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends taking him or her to school, since nits by themselves are nowhere near as harmful as adult lice.
- If the problem persists, consult a doctor or lice removal clinic for stronger treatments.
Preventing another case of lice simply involves informing your child to avoid contact with other people or objects that can create a new infestation. Even though good health habits for your children are important, you cannot prevent a case of lice. Despite a patient’s background, hygiene, and economic status, any child in any circumstance can develop lice.
- Tell your child to avoid head-to-head contact with other kids
- Warn your child not to use brushes, hats, scarves, or other head accessories of someone with lice
- Let the child know that he or she should not lie on pillows, carpets, and bedding from people with lice
- Make routine checks of anyone in your household who has been in contact with someone with lice.
With the proper treatment and prevention tactics, you can spare your child the annoyance and frustration associated with a lice infestation. Ultimately it is the health and safety of your children that is always paramount.