If you’ve found head lice on your child and were able to get rid of it, you know how important it is to prevent it from coming back. Lice can be embarrassing to kids even though it’s not their fault. It can also turn your household upside down trying to prevent the spread from one person to the next. So, once you’ve got it under control, there are a few easy steps to take to prevent re-infestations.
1. Wash Sheets and Clothes in the Laundry
It’s a good idea to throw everything into the laundry. Sheets and pillowcases on everyone’s bed should be a first priority. And, depending on the size of your family, that could be several loads, but its well worth the trouble to prevent the aggravation of head lice reappearing.
All clothes worn in the last two weeks should be washed in very hot water, and then dried in the hot cycle of the dryer for at least 20 minutes. Don’t forget those stuffed animals. They should be thrown in the wash too.
2. Tell Kids Not to Have Head-to-Head Contact
Since lice spread from one person to the next by head to head contact, tell your kids to avoid bumping heads with other kids at school, during gym, playing after school sports, or even playing at home in the neighborhood.
Girls tend to get lice more frequently than boys, most likely because they get closer to other kids during play. If you explain the importance of not having head to head contact with other kids, they can prevent head lice all on their own.
3. Check Daily for Lice
Once you get rid of those pesky little buggers, you’ll want to make sure they don’t come back. Check your child’s head with a lice comb once a day. Make sure you wet the hair first because it stops the lice dead in their tracks for a short time. This makes it easier for you to find and remove them. If you’ve gone about two weeks without seeing a nit, you’re probably in the clear.
4. Teach Kids Not to Share Certain Items
We all want our kids to learn how to share, but when it comes to lice, certain items should be kept to ourselves. If head lice have been an issue in your home or in your children’s school system, tell your kids not to share combs, brushes, barrettes, ribbons, headbands, bandanas, hair ties, helmets, or towels. You can’t tell who has lice and who doesn’t, so it’s better to be safe than sorry later.
To make sure your house is lice-free, be sure to give it a good vacuuming. Upholstery, carpets, and draperies should be vacuumed to prevent further infestation. Most of us don’t have time to vacuum upholstery and draperies on a regular basis, but it is important to do when you’re concerned about head lice.
All of this can seem like a lot of work for a few bugs, but it can make a huge difference in preventing head lice. Think about it like spring cleaning and starting fresh. Once you’re done, you’ll know that you’ve completely rid your house of lice. Don’t forget that your kids can help too. When they understand how lice move from person to person, they can be effective partners in keeping lice away for good.