10 ways to prevent lice

Head lice are insects that cling to the scalp and are easily spread amongst people who spend lots of time in cramped places like camps and kids at schools. People suffering from lice suffer from severe itching of the scalp. To avoid this suffering and head lice, here are 10 ways to prevent lice.

1. Routine head checks

Lice are tiny and fast insects where its infestations are identified by the presence of nits or lice eggs. They get attached to hair strands and are easy to spot. So keep checking your child’s hair once a week, especially at the back hairline and behind ears as this is where lice tend to populate.

Look for any small reddish bumps on the neck or scalp. The nits look like small, white flakes that stick to the hair. If any lice are seen, start treatment immediately. Combing hair with a fine metal tooth comb helps remove nits and eggs. Remember, it can take six weeks for you to experience any itching; this is why routine checks are so important.

2. No sharing of personal belongings

As lice can live for a day or two without a host, and are easily transferred through helmets, headphones, coats, scarves, headbands, hoodies, hats, costumes and even combs and hairbrushes. If you have more than one child at home, separate their combs, brushes and hair accessories to prevent lice.

Similarly, when you go to a movie or sit in an airplane or bus seat, make sure you take a scarf along to throw over the top of the seat for added protection. It is also not advised to wear wigs, scarfs and hats at department stores.

3. Use lice prevention shampoos and conditioners

As lice get repelled by some smells like eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, lemongrass, citronella, menthol, tea tree oil and rosemary oil, choose shampoos with any of these scents for added protection from lice. Shampoos with 1 percent permethrin helps eliminate lice.

4. Essential oils deter lice

Similarly, you can use essential oils instead of, or with shampoo and conditioners for added protection. Just mix a few drops of the oil with water in a spray bottle and spray on hats, jackets and even your child’s head to ward off lice.

5. Tie up hair

Studies suggest that girls have a higher tendency to get lice than boys, perhaps because hey usually have long hair. However this does not imply your daughter has to cut her hair short-keeping hair tied up or in braids helps lower the chances of an infestation.

6. Clothes dryers help prevent lice

If you want to prevent a lice re-infestation, make sure you throw your bedding, pillows and all the furry friends your child sleeps with in the dryer for at least 15 minutes to kill lice and nits.

7. No head to head contact

Always avoid head-to-head contact with people who have lice. This means you have to keep your head off the carpet, pillows, linen and couches which have recently come into contact with an infected person.

Similarly, if you plan to have a sleepover at home, you can avoid the possible spread of lice amongst the children by making kids sleep in a flower or star pattern wherein their feet are together in the center.

8. Disinfect helmets or head costumes

In case you have to share some head gear, helmets or head costumes, you can disinfect them using alcohol before using. For added protection, you could also consider wearing a liner underneath for it. For similar reasons, avoid hair salons that do not disinfect their combs and hair cutting tools between clients. If you like, you could always carry your own combs and brushes to the hair cutting salon.

9. Store and wash separately

Always store your head gear separately. This means it is not advisable to share coat racks with others. Similarly, place your hat and coat in separate bins or storage areas. Washing clothing and bedding in hot soapy water helps prevent the spread of lice from one person to another.

10. Unwashable items

If you suspect someone in the household is infested with lice, or if you suspect unwashable items like hair brushes are infested, just place them in a Ziploc bag and store in the freezer for 24 hours.

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