Preventing Lice in Children’s Hair

The school year is in full swing, and almost halfway over. Chances are, your kids have brought home everything from happy crafts and loads of homework to germs and sickness. Hopefully you haven't been faced with an outbreak of lice; if you have, you know just how big of a pain it can be. Lice are miserable. The itching and scratching is incessant and inconsolable until they're dead and gone; trust us, if you haven't dealt with it, you'll want to take every precaution in preventing it. Here's what you'll need to do to prevent lice in your child's hair.

Preventing Lice in Children's Hair

Discourage Sharing

It may sound like the complete opposite of what you're trying to teach your child, but it's vital to the health of her head without lice. Lice are transferred by contact, so keeping your child's personal space separate from the rest of her class is key. Label her belongings, specifically clothes, coats, hats, and hair accessories, and teach her that she's never to share them without speaking first with an adult; nor is she to take someone else's stuff. Have a talk with her teacher and ask her to prevent the children from sharing these items (she likely will already).

Keep it All Clean

Lice are simply microscopic bugs that are attracted to dirt and oil and live life laying eggs in their “dens”. For that reason, lice are more prominent in places where dirt and grime run rampant (think inner city slums). You better believe that lice are more likely to find a home in an unclean toboggan rather than a clean one, and once they lay their eggs, they spread like wildfire. For that reason, make a habit of washing clothes, hats, gloves, scarves regularly, and keeping your home clean.

Mayonnaise Will Do the Trick

If you've seen your child scratching a bit, but you're not convinced that lice is the culprit, take an extra precaution before you dismiss it all together: cover her head in mayonnaise. In extreme cases where head lice has become a major problem, mayonnaise may not do the trick (you'll want to spring for a chemical applicant like Rit), but mayo is perfect for the beginnings of an outbreak. Mayonnaise is thick, it's heavy, and it will suffocate the life out of each louse that's trying to take up residence and lay eggs in the hair. Allow the mayonnaise to set for an hour before rinsing it out and then gently combing through with a very fine comb to pull out any nits (egg sacks) and lice carcasses.

Cut it Short

If you're still pretty paranoid about your child contracting lice, keep their hair short. Long hair touches more, so it's much more likely to come away with an infestation than, say, shoulder length hair on a girl, or buzzed hair for a boy. It's extreme, but eliminating a lice “den” all together will definitely do the trick.

Take the proactive steps necessary to prevent your child from being a victim of a dreaded lice infestation. They will thank you (and you will thank yourself) in the long run.

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