How to Prevent the Spread of Head Lice
Head lice can be really pesky to deal with, especially since there’s no proven way to prevent your child from becoming infested with them in the first place! The spread of head lice and the risk of re-infestation are two battles parents face once they know that their child, or another child from school, has head lice. While it can be difficult, there are a few ways to help prevent the spread of head lice.
Lice can only travel by walking, so if they can’t move between heads, they simply can’t spread! Make sure that your child avoids any head to head contact with classmates and friends to prevent them from catching or spreading head lice. Nits don’t need long to spread, so it’s crucial that direct contact between heads is avoided! Talk to your child and make sure that they understand what you mean by head to head contact – that anything from bumping heads while playing sport to friendly gestures such as hugging or leaning in close to take a picture can be enough contact to spread head lice.
Avoid Spreading Head Lice by Sleeping at Home
As much as children love sleepovers, it’s worth putting them on hold if you know that there’s a particularly bad infestation of head lice at school. Head lice can spread not only from head to head contact but, since they can survive away from a human for one or two days, they often spread to places like pillows where your child’s head has been. Share or swap a pillow at a sleepover, and your child could end up with head lice or end up giving it to their friends.
Avoid Further Lice Infestation by Not Sharing
When we say don’t share, we really just mean don’t share anything that could have come into contact with hair. While it’s first instinct for any child who’s been taught to share to lend their friend a brush or make their hair look pretty with a hair ribbon, their kindness could cause head lice to spread. Explain to your child that in this instance, sharing items such as hats, scarves, hair bands, bobbles, towels and brushes can mean that they are risking infesting their friends with head lice – or risking catching nits themselves!
Head Lice Can't Survive a Wash!
Head lice can’t survive if they aren’t feeding off a human, and they certainly can’t survive a trip through the washing machine! Make sure that if your child has head lice, or you suspect that they might, then find any items that have come into contact with their head and either machine wash them in hot water followed by a spell in the tumble-drier or seal them in a plastic bag for four days to kill the nits. Think about household items such as pillows and towels that your child may have used, and even items such as bike helmets and cuddly toys. Head lice are different to bed bugs because they do not burrow into items such as pillows and duvets; instead, they will only remain on the surface. This means that you only have to wash the covers. Please do not buy expensive sprays – there really is no need.