Oh gross, lice!
It happens to the nicest children. Here’s how to cope.
(Getty Images)
Things crawling in your child’s hair, not the finest moment perhaps, but very common. Head lice are insects about the size of a sesame seed, and can easily be seen, although they hide quickly when exposed to light. Their eggs, called nits, are barely visible whitish ovals cemented to hair shafts. Lice spread very easily, and don’t mean that your child is dirty.

What to do
  • Lice can be easily killed with a special shampoo, and get rid of the eggs with a fine-tooth comb. For best results, follow the directions exactly.
  • Other family members should be treated too – about 60% of infected children have relatives who carry lice.
  • Disinfect combs and brushes in hot, soapy water, and wash all bedding and clothes in hot water.
  • You can also items such as hats and clothing by placing them in a sealed plastic bag for 14 days; the nits will hatch in about a week and die of starvation. This technique works well for soft toys.
  • Brushes and combs can be disinfected by soaking them in hot, soapy water for 10 minutes.

Keep the creepies away

  • Preventing another visit from head lice is difficult, especially among children, since lice spread quickly from head to head.
  • Teach children not to share hats, hooded coats, scarves, combs, brushes, pillows, and soft toys.
  • If you discover lice on your child, tell the school or day-care immediately, since classmates are likely to be infected.
  • Keep children home from school until they are lice-free. 

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