Home     Home and Family     Healthy Kids    

Are you prepared?

What do you do if your child has lice?

how to deal with lice

September may be National Head Lice Awareness Month but every month our children are in school they are exposed. Are you prepared? When your child complains about an itchy head will you have a lice extermination plan in place? Take a look at these lice taming tips in preparation for the invasion:

Anti-lice Shampoo
This over-the-counter shampoo can help kill the lice in your child’s hair. For stubborn and resistant lice, it is recommended that you go to your doctor so that you can be prescribed an oral medication. Once at least the majority of the lice are killed from the shampoo or medication, you can use a special comb that you can purchase at your local drug store to take out the lice and nits (eggs) in your child’s hair. It is recommended that you check even 7-10 days later to make sure that each section of the hair is fully clear of any lice or nits.

Wash all clothing and bed sheets
You can wash all your child’s clothing and bed sheets in hot water in order to kill the lice. An alternative could be to put everything in a dryer for 20 minutes. Take your child’s toys and conceal them in bags for at least a few weeks in order to kill the lice. It is also important to vacuum the house for any lice that could get on the carpet or any furniture. Even though the main concern is removing the lice from your child’s head, you still need to take care of everything he or she came in contact with in order to prevent it spreading again onto your child or any other family member.

Check everyone in the house
Lice can spread easily so it is important that everyone in the house gets checked for head lice, including yourself. Your family should be examined every 3 to 4 days after a child gets head lice. This is to prevent any infestation. No one in the family wants to go through this (again)!   

Comb hair
This especially applies to young ones who are 2 months old or younger. Parents will need to remove the lice and nits by hand because many young ones can’t use the medicated shampoos or medications. Wash the child’s hair and use conditioner in order to immobilize the lice and make the hair the easier to manage. Take a fine-tooth comb to go through each section of the hair and pick out the lice and nits by hand. Repeat this every 3 to 4 days for 3 weeks in order to make sure each lice and nit is removed.

Olive Oil, Vinegar, or Mayonnaise
This may seem odd to use these products in your child’s hair but it has been proven to work. Even from my own personal experience. Apply and lather either one of these kitchen products into all sections of your child’s hair and cover the hair with a shower cap overnight. Lice can go for hours without breathing so by doing this overnight can help kill the lice. In the morning, shampoo and condition your child’s hair and then comb through each section to get out all the lice and nits.

Jacqueline Kavana is an editorial assistant intern at Hudson Valley Parent and a senior at Mount Saint Mary College.