by Anza Goodbar
(last updated February 17, 2012)
Children can get lice from summer camp or simply going to school. Lice can only be transmitted through human contact. There are three main symptoms to be on the lookout for: Dandruff that doesn't go away, this is a sign that nits are attached to the hair shaft. Little white bugs crawling around in your hair, these are the adult bugs. Itching, most people itch when they have a lice infestation.
Lice are highly contagious and can be transmitted through the use of shared hygiene products like combs and brushes. It can also be transferred through sharing hats, scarves and coats. Head lice are one of the biggest health problems at kids' camps. Advise your children not to share personal items that could spread lice should a breakout occur. It is recommended to check your kids for lice ever two weeks, if lice are found, notify the camp or school officials immediately.
If your kids come home with lice, use a de-lousing shampoo like Rd of Nix. Both have an active ingredient of an insecticide called pyrenthrins which kills lice. Be sure cats don't get near it as it is deadly to them. After shampooing, use a fine-toothed comb to run through the hair from the scalp to the ends to get rid of the nits or eggs that have attached to the hair shaft.
Next, wash all bedding and any clothing worn within the past week in extremely hot water, both in the wash and rinse cycle. It is also advisable to use a hot dryer setting to ensure any remaining lice or nits are killed in the wash cycle to prevent a re-infestation.
Lice can also attach to fabrics in carpet and upholstery. Use a vacuum that has a bristle attachment and thoroughly vacuum anywhere people rest—couches, chairs, bed, and carpeting— to suck up any lice that may become loose from hair.
If over the counter products don't work, your doctor can prescribe a medication with a higher concentration of pyrenthrins. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should not use this remedy. Likewise if you break out in a rash or hives, discontinue use.
Some families opt for using home remedies; keeping hair clean by washing it daily is a great place to start. Other tricks are to use tea tree oil; it is a natural fungicide, a natural antimicrobial agent and a natural antiseptic solution that is said to kill head lice.
The best way to prevent a lice infestation is to have good hygiene, don't share personal items like combs or brushes and report any sightings early to prevent lice from spreading.
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