Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Keep Your Kids Lice Free This Fall

Research shows that head lice infect between 10 to 12 million people in the United States each year! Head lice thrive during the back to school months of August & September with full blown infestations occurring in December and January. Daycare centers, pre-schools and kindergartens are more likely to become infested as these younger children tend to be in closer contact.

There are many myths surrounding head lice. Here's a few basic facts:

  • Lice do not live on animals so your child can not catch lice from the family pet.
  • Lice can not fly. They move from child to child by crawling or when combs, hats and other personal items are shared.
  • Lice are happy to infest both clean and dirty hair. Having lice is not a reflection of poor personal hygiene.

Most parents tend to panic when a case of head lice is discovered. Although being violated by these little creatures is pretty gross, they rarely cause infection or disease and are really just a major inconvenience.

So how can you make sure your family stays lice free this fall...

  • Avoid sharing brushes, combs, hats, scarfs, towels - anything that touches the head and hair.
  • Learn what to look for and check your children frequently for that tell tale itching.
  • Make sure you stay informed and check for any notices coming home from school. Talk with your childs teacher and ask that the parents be notified if an outbreak occurs.
  • Check bedding, towels and rugs during a school outbreak to make sure they have not reached your home.

Prevention plays a large role in keeping your family lice free. There are many preventative treatments available which help deter head lice. Circle of Friends Lice Free Zone shampoo and leave-in conditioners are one of the most effective treatments we've found. Used regularly during back to school season, this preventative treatment uses natural Tea Tree, Andiroba and Lavender oils to repel lice and other insects, preventing that dreaded infestation.

What should you do if you discover your child has head lice...

  • Speak with a pharmacist or doctor about a recommended treatment plan. Many over the counter treatments contain harsh chemicals not suitable for use on small children.
  • Purchase a small toothed comb and use to repeatedly remove lice and eggs.
  • One chemical treatments will remove 70% of lice and nits so continued treatment is necessary to ensure complete removal.
  • Wash all bedding, blankets, pillows in hot water.
  • Check carpers and rugs thoroughly.
  • Continue to check hair and treat as necessary.

With the frequency of head lice outbreaks in local schools and the priority of keeping kids in school not out sick, many services have developed specifically for the removal of head lice. For a specific fee you are able to take your child to a salon where an experienced professional will apply treatment and work on the hair until all lice and nits are removed. Many of these services will even come to your home too.

Please remember to contact your local pharmacy or health care provider for more information. We hope you stay lice free this season.