Finding out you or a loved one has head lice can be very frustrating as well as embarrassing. There is often stigma surrounding lice. People often assume that if a person has lice, they are unclean, and come from a dirty home. This is just not true. Lice can be “picked up” from any place–the seat of a movie chair, the back of an airplane seat, from a coat hanging too close to another… Many types of lice are becoming more resistant to over the counter treatments, so it is important to get rid of the lice as quickly as possible.
One of the first things to do is get a cup filled with vinegar and comb through all the hair with a very fine- toothed comb or specially made lice comb, which can be found at most drug stores. If possible, find a very well-lit area or have the affected person sit outside in the sunlight (nits and lice show up much better in the light.) Begin coming though the hair with the comb, dipping it in the vinegar solution after each brush.
After combing thoroughly though the hair, put a recommended lice shampoo all over the head, being sure to follow directions completely. After washing the hair, dry hair completely with a hot hair dryer. Comb through the hair again with the fine tooth comb to check to see if there are any remaining louse. If there are, repeat the above steps another time.
After treating a person affected with head lice, it is very important to treat the rest of the home to be sure that the lice does not return. Some things to do are to wash all bedding in hot water and to dry on the hottest dryer cycle. If pillows are not machine washable, they can be placed in the dryer on the hottest setting for a half-an hour. Clothing should also all be washed in the hottest water temperature setting and dried, as well. If there are stuffed animals, place them in the dryer to kill any nits or louse, then tie them up in plastic garbage bags for a minimum of seventy-two hours. All carpets should be vacuumed thoroughly, and any rugs in the house washed and dried on high heat. For items such as cloth furnishings, vacuum thoroughly, then spray with a lice spray, following all directions. For items in the home that aren’t cloth, spray with a disinfecting spray, and wipe all items down completely.
Keeping Lice and Nits Away
It is important to keep in mind that head lice and nits are quite stubborn and can be difficult to get rid of. The best methods are to continue to repeat the above steps weekly, and check family members’ heads randomly to ensure that the lice and nits are completely gone. You may also want to look into head lice repellent hair bands for your kids if there is a lice outbreak at their school.
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