Now that the kids are headed back to school, it’s time to discuss head lice. Cases of lice are extremely common in children, second only to the common cold. Every year, there are an estimated 21 million cases in American schools!
Head lice are pests, and here at Parker Pest Control, we know pests. Keep reading to learn more about lice, as well as what you and your family can do to prevent them and ultimately defeat them.
What are Head Lice?
Lice are small, parasitic insects. The female head louse will lay 50-100 oval eggs, also known as nits, which attach to the scalp with a glue-like substance. After 5-10 days, the eggs will hatch into nymphs (juvenile lice), and feed on blood through the scalp. These pests complete a life cycle every 3 weeks or so.
The parasites will live this life cycle on the scalp, and are only relocated when disrupted by scratching or combing. However, lice will travel willingly from scalp to scalp if they come in direct
contact with another head. Did you know that lice can’t fly or jump? They have to get around by crawling!
Although lice themselves do not pose a health risk, excessive scratching of the scalp can cause open sores or a skin infection. That’s why prevention is best!
Lice prevention starts with inspection. If you suspect that your children or other children at their school have lice, check their scalps thoroughly and often. Avoid sharing personal items such as combs, hats, and other clothing to help prevent the spread. Of course, children should be encouraged to stay in their personal space to keep their distance so that head-to-head transfer can be minimized.
If you’ve already found evidence of lice in your child’s hair, then it’s time to move onto treatment and further prevention!
Before reading further, check out this list of remedies and whether they’ve been proven to work! Researching these chemicals and home remedies will help you differentiate the tried and true from the downright ineffective. Keep in mind that so many of these methods work best when combined. Start with these
Nitpicking and combing: The oldest trick in the book is also one of the best. No matter which lice-removal method you’re trying, buying one of these special combs at your local drug store is a must! M
any other treatments may not remove all of the nits that nitpicker will.
Chemicals: There are many safe chemicals designed for the job of killing lice, such as RID. Ask your pharmacist for their recommendation.
For further prevention, make sure you wash any hats, combs, and clothing that was in direct contact with your child in hot water. Any items that can’t be run through the washing machine can be placed in a closed bag for 4 weeks, because most lice can’t live for more than 48 hours away from the scalp.
Sources Head Lice CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=875392