Your child just came home from school with a note: Your kid has lice!
Don’t panic. People have been dealing with lice forever. Mummified louse have been found on Human mummies in both the old world and the new, and treatments have come a long way since King Tut.
Now that we’ve calmed down, lets take care of the problem.
First, verify that your child actually has lice. Begin a thorough inspection of the hair, paying close attention to the areas near the scalp. If you’ve confirmed the presence of lice or eggs, you need to treat.
Over the counter medication in shampoo or lotion form are readily available. Look for products that contain the active ingredient ‘pyrethrin’. This insecticide has a proven track record, can be safely applied to hair, and is relatively inexpensive. Avoid any home remedies or other un-proven methods! Note that over-the-counter treatments don’t kill eggs, so a treatment schedule is required. You should treat the hair at least two or three times on a 7-10 day cycle—the treatments eventually kill all adults before any hatched lice are mature enough to be able to lay more eggs.
After every treatment, and as often as you want (daily is recommended), you need to inspect for and remove any lice or eggs in the hair. Eggs are also called ‘nits,’ and it is because of this meticulous process that people who annoyingly look for small things to pick out are called ‘nit’ pickers. Commercial combs are available to help in this process, and are often included in the treatments you buy.
If you’re still seeing lice after the recommended amount of treatments, consult a physician. This is not uncommon. Over the years some lice have become resistant to traditional medication. Your physician can prescribe powerful medication that kills both adults and eggs.
Towels, clothes, & bedding should be washed and dried on the warmest setting to kill any lice or eggs. Items that can’t go in your washer or dryer should be dry cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag for 4 weeks. Hair brushes, combs, hair ties, etc., can be placed in the freezer, or boiled for 10 minutes to kill all life cycles of this insect.
Carpets, furniture, beds, box springs, etc., can also be safely treated with approved insecticides. However, without treating the hair of your loved ones, it’s all for not. Make sure to follow instructions and use labeled rates. Consult a pest professional if you feel uncomfortable doing it yourself.
Though it’s every parents fear, and every school nurses worst nightmare, lice problems aren’t the end of the world. Follow these steps and you’ll be fine!
Barrier Pest Control
Nampa, ID 83687