Lice Emergency? Your Guide to a Lice Outbreak


a person getting a haircut

Head lice affect between six and twelve million American children every year, and that’s not counting their parents, teachers, siblings, and other family members that are susceptible to infestation as a result. Even though lice are easily transmitted – especially among the active and clumsy-if-not-adorable children in our lives – that doesn’t mean you must put your life on hold over their arrival in your home.

To help prevent lice from infesting your home, it is essential to teach your child not to borrow hats or hair accessories from other children. If the child’s hair is long enough, keep it clean, braided, and lightly sprayed with hair spray. Keeping it braided will lessen the chances of your child’s hair touching other children’s hair as they play. Since lice aren’t attracted to dirty hair as many assume, lightly spraying the hair with hair spray will help repel the lice.

Facing a child having lice can be very stressful and feel overwhelming. However, it does not need to be a traumatic experience. You can try to treat the lice yourself if the infestation is not out of control. However, if you are unable to or don’t feel confident in your ability to get it done, you can look into choosing a professional lice treatment center to help you ensure your family and home are lice free. A professional service can come to your home and work with you to ensure all possibly infected people and areas are treated.

Lice removal can be painless if you take the nit infestation seriously and quickly take steps to consider your treatment options. The first step in a proactive head lice removal method is detection, and for this, you must understand how and why your child has picked up these tiny critters. Contrary to popular belief, head lice are not attracted to dirty or unkempt hair; anyone can get them through direct head-to-head contact. Lice are incredibly ‘infectious,’ although this is not a disease. They simply have grown adept at swift transmission from host to host over 25 million years atop the heads of various primates. Therefore, the shame of harboring these temporary annoyances should be put to bed immediately; anyone can pick them up, and they are itchy but harmless, so there is no need to panic.

In some cases, lice removal is as simple as constant shampooing and combing with a specialty comb with very narrow teeth. These combs are designed specifically for removing living and dead lice and their eggs. However, because the combs are very fine and can be challenging to use with thick hair, you will need to take your time and go slowly over the skull to ensure you are not missing anything. The most challenging part of this will be keeping your child content and sitting still for long periods at a time.

The shampoo you need to use is formulated to kill lice, which means you need to be extra careful when using it on your child. You have to make sure it does not get in their eyes, and it is completely washed out when you finish. You will also need to wear gloves while washing your child’s hair or handling the hair while the shampoo is in it to protect your hands.

While treating your infected child, you will also need to monitor everyone else in the family your child comes in contact with, as well as your home. You will need to remove and wash anything fabric that your child has come in contact with, including bedding, pillows, stuffed animals, clothing, and hair accessories. Everything will need washed in hot water and dried on high heat to ensure any lice or eggs embedded in the fabric are dead.