You just found out that your child has head lice. Now what do you do? Relax. A head lice treatment is not that bad, and you can perform head lice treatments in your own home. Here is a look at what you need to know.
Common Lice Treatments
Most head lice treatments involve using a shampoo to kill the adult head lice. Rid and Nix are some of the name brand shampoos, and you can find them at your local drug store. You will need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to complete the head lice treatment. After shampooing, you will need to go through and remove the nits with a special comb in order to complete the head lice treatment and prevent re-infestation.
For light infestations, or if you want to avoid using a shampoo head lice treatment, you may try removing the live lice and nits with a comb. Keep in mind that this will probably require frequent retreatment to prevent the lice from coming back.
You may continue to see head lice nits for days after the initial head lice treatment. Provided that the nits are dead, then the head lice treatment worked. However, if you find live lice and/or nits after completing a head lice treatment, it usually means that the treatment was unsuccessful, or your child has picked up head lice a second time.
Another essential part of the head lice treatment is to treat the environment to prevent your child, or another family member, from becoming infected again. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends cleaning any items that have come in contact with the head of the infected person up to two days before the head lice treatment. While this will include your child’s clothing and bedding, if your child has not been in the guest bedroom, you do not need to treat in there. Wash everything that you can in hot water, and vacuum carpeted areas and furniture thoroughly.
Things to remember while treating Lice
While performing a head lice treatment can be a pain, catching head lice is not the end of the world. When performing a head lice treatment there are some things to remember:
Panicking doesn’t kill head lice. Stressing out over the head lice will only make your child anxious and could lead to overdoing the head lice treatment.
You must remove the nits. Nits hatch every 7 to 10 days and will turn into more adult lice. These in turn will lay more eggs, causing a re-infestation. Most head lice treatments will not kill the nits, so you will need to remove these by hand. You may also need to retreat your child 7 to 10 days after the initial treatment to kill any lice that were missed.
Misdiagnosis is common. It can be difficult to tell the difference between dandruff and nits, or live nits and dead ones. If you don’t see any live lice, have a pediatrician check your child to confirm if he or she has head lice.
Natural head lice treatments may not be the best route. Natural treatments like mayonnaise or tea tree oil have not been proven for effectiveness or safety. They can also be hard on a child’s hair and difficult to wash out.
If your first head lice treatment does not work, consult the pediatrician. Resistant lice may need a special head lice treatment, and you do not want overexpose your child to treatments that are not working.