September is National Head Lice Awareness Month. It is a great time to remind everyone of some tips for preventing and dealing with head lice. Head lice is a human parasite that affects 6-12 million people in the US yearly. Although it is more common among children in the age range of 6-11 years anyone who comes into contact with an infested person can contract lice.
Head lice is spread primarily through head to head contact so when thinking of lice prevention this is where you should start. It is always a good idea to pull long hair back for school. Not only is the hair out of the face, making it easier to concentrate on schoolwork, but it also makes it more difficult to contract lice. A nice braid or bun works best, but ponytails or pigtails are good as well. Using prevention products such as shampoos or sprays containing essential oils such as peppermint oil, rosemary oil, or tea tree oil can also help prevent the spread of lice.
Lastly, but most importantly, combing through your child’s hair once a week with a good metal nit comb (we recommend the Terminator comb) is the best thing you can do as a parent to prevent a difficult lice infestation. We always recommend conducting a preventative combing after your child has had a shower or bath and the hair is slightly wet and tangle free. Get a white bowl or Tupperware container with a white paper towel on the bottom. Make sure to comb all the way from the scalp to the ends of the hair. Pay close attention to the “hot spots” which include the very front of the head, behind the ears, and the base of the neck. Every 3-4 swipes with the comb, empty the water by scraping the tines of the comb with your fingernails. Nits in water will looks like small sesame seeds and will be tan or brown. A louse will be the size of a pencil tip and will be dark brown or tan. They can appear red as well if they were feeding. If you see something that fits this description then chances are your child has lice. Do not panic or stress…..Pick up the phone and call us at 843-323-5366 to discuss your treatment options.
One more word about lice……Please do not send your child to school if they have lice. I know it is highly inconvenient to keep them home. It is also inconsiderate of the rest to the children that your child comes into contact with throughout the day if your child goes to school.