How to Prevent and Get Rid of Lice

How Do You Get Rid of Head Lice?
The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends the following treatment for head lice and their eggs:

  1. Use an over-the-counter FDA-approved shampoo treatment that you find at the drug or grocery store. Follow the directions on the packaging exactly.
  2. Remove as many eggs as possible with a special comb that comes with the head lice treatment.
  3. Treat your home at the same time you treat your child. Do the following:
    • Soak combs and brushes for 5-10 minutes in some of the lice shampoo for 1 hour or in very, very hot water.
    • Wash sheets, blankets and other bedding in the hottest setting of water in the washing machine.  Dry in a hot dryer.
    • Dry-clean non-washable items or seal these items in a plastic bag for 1 week or tumble them in a very hot dryer. 
    • Vacuum furniture, carpets and mattresses thoroughly.
  4. Treat hair a second time 7 to 10 days after the first treatment (or follow the instructions of the manufacturer of the lice treatment) to make sure that you kill any lice that may have hatched from eggs that might have been missed during the combing.
  5. There is no need to cut hair. Lice like to crawl on short hair just as much as long hair and they need the same treatment.

How Do You Keep Lice From Coming Back?

  • Teach family members to recognize eggs and how lice is spread and check everyone's hair periodically.
  • If you find lice, follow the recommended treatment closely. It should be reported to the school nurse, who may want to check close contacts.
  • Remind children not to share combs, brushes, hair accessories, headphones, hats, clothing, bedding, coats and so forth.
  • Ask the teacher at your child's school if there is a space to keep jackets, hats and other personal items separate for each child. Ask what you can do to help.

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