School is back in session and that means kids are more prone to bringing home head lice. Yes, we are talking about the bugs which means everyone is going to itch. But it is important to know how to spot the bug and how to kill them.
“Kids will put their heads together to look at things.” Dr. Stan Garrett, MD Family Medicine with Covenant Medical Group explains that sharing is caring, but there are certain things we must teach our kids to never share.
“We still tell them not to share clothing, hats, caps, combs, brushes but that’s where you’re going to get them.” Dr. Garrett says, “One in every four children will get lice sometime during the school year.” For us parents those aren’t great odds, so what do we need to look for? Things that look like dandruff but are moving in the hair close to the scalp. Dr. Garrett told me, “lice are pretty secretive and hide.” By using a fine tooth comb you can start at the scalp and comb down and you will know if there is lice in their hair.
The rule used to be if your child has head lice, they were sent home until it is completely cleared up. Not anymore. Dr. Garrett explains, “The Center for Disease Control put a policy out about a year or so ago recommending children not be sent home, schools still have the right to have their own policy, but they recommend that it’s not worth a child missing school. And making sure teachers and students know to avoid head to head contact. Then when the child goes home and the parents are instructed on what to do at the end of the day they can treat it. That treatment will kill the live lice, the knits will take about eight days to hatch then you repeat the treatment eight to nine days later. So the child can return to school the next day. He or she should be free of the live lice so they shouldn’t be contagious.”
For treatment Dr. Garrett tells me, “most people will still respond to the over the counter products, RID is an example.”
Then you must treat the items the child has been around before being diagnosed. Dr. Garrett says, “anything they have worn for the last 48 hours before you find the live lice must be treated, if it can be washed then wash it with soap and in hot water. Then put it in the dryer on the hottest setting possible. For things that can’t be washed, time in a sealed garage bag for two weeks. The lice cannot live off the human body for more than 48 hours.