Head Lice: What Parents Need to Know

The topic of head lice is not one you ever want brought up in your home, but the fact of the matter is that if you have children in school, sports or who have friends they spend time with; they’re at risk for getting lice. These gross and horrible little creatures live in the hair follicles of, well, anyone, though they’re most common in children ages 3-12, more so in girls than boys. There are a number of misconceptions about head lice that parents believe, so before your kid comes home with lice, here are a few myths debunked.

Lice is Not Just for Dirty Kids

Just because your child is clean and well-cared for does not mean she will not get lice. You can have the cleanest kid in the world, but if she’s exposed to lice, her cleanliness doesn’t matter. Anyone can get lice and it’s really easy to get them. Additionally, if she catches lice at school, at practice or at a sleepover, it could come from anyone. While it might be a natural reaction to want to blame a parent for not taking good care of their child and allowing them to catch and spread lice, but lice can come from even the cleanest children, according to Kids Health.

Killing Head Lice Requires More than Just Shampooing Your Child’s Hair

You might be tempted to call in pest control or have your house fumigated to kill the lice infestation, but it’s not necessary. These gross little creatures can only live for about two days once out of the hair, so as long as you kill the lice in your child’s hair, you’re doing well. From that point, you’ll want to wash your child’s linens, stuffed animals and recently worn clothing in very hot water and allow them to spend at least 20 minutes in the dryer’s hottest setting. It’s not necessary to shampoo your carpets or rugs, either. Vacuuming them thoroughly will do the trick. Just remember to do the same to your child’s car seat and the seats in your car if you have cloth seats.

How Lice is Spread

Lice is spread by head to head contact, sharing clothing, sharing hair accessories and sharing headwear such as hats, helmets and even headbands. This can happen at sporting events, school, sleepovers, play dates and anywhere else. Be sure you check your child’s hair every few days for lice.


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