Bedbugs are not the only pesky insects plaguing parents and city schools. Enter head lice, a pest second only to the common cold in contraction among school children. However, unlike bedbugs, lice can be painlessly extracted and prevented. New York Family spoke with lice expert Adie Horowitz, the owner of Licenders, Inc. - a company that provides salons and products for lice eradication - to garner some advice about preventing, treating and stopping the spread of head lice.
1. Prevention, Prevention,
Horowitz recommends that parents and schools get tough on teaching children about lice. Advise children not to share hats, helmets or hair brushes. For children with long hair, put hair in braids and pony tails, and advise kids from putting their heads close together as lice will crawl - they cannot fly - from one to the next. Horowitz also advocates a prevention spray created by Licenders that utilizes citronella to repel the bugs.
2. Learn The Signs
And Strike Early!
If you see your child scratching their head vigorously, it's time to check for lice. Use a shampoo to kill the lice, and then go through hair with a comb to eradicate nits. This process may take anywhere from a few hours to a few minutes depending on the length and thickness of your child's hair. To ensure that lice do not return and that all nits are combed out, repeat this process for two weeks. Horowitz also recommends that parents check children for nits and lice every two weeks. The Licenders website provides a kit, including everything from their all natural, chemical free lice eradicating shampoo to a nit comb, for parents to stamp out lice.
3. Ignore The Myths
And Know The Facts.
There are plenty of myths about lice and where they come from, so it's important to be able to separate fact from fiction. Head lice don't come from pets, can't move to other parts of the body, and aren't a sign of poor hygiene. Here are the facts: Lice actually only affect humans. The lice that affect the head (head lice) will not move to other parts of the body. Lice are also not an indicator of poor hygiene as they do not like dirty, greasy hair. Finding nits - or lice eggs - does not mean that live lice are present, as nits take anywhere from 6 to 8 days to hatch. Parents should act immediately to prevent lice from hatching. In fact, since nits are not contagious, a child with nits can attend school as long as parents are acting to eradicate the presence of nits and there are no live lice. The more parents know about lice, the easier it is to prevent them and teach kids about them.
4. Contact Your
Having lice can be embarrassing for children, but it's important for parents to let schools know that there is a lice occurrence. All children will need to be screened in order to prevent a school wide outbreak. If a parent is adamant about not contacting the school to spare their child embarrassment, Horowitz advocates making an anonymous call or, if the parents contact Licenders for lice extraction, the company will alert the school without naming the student.