Head Lice

How to Prevent Head Lice

Children are often the ones who become infested with lice because they tend to be more carefree in their interactions with others. It's not unusual for two kids to share a hat or another article of clothing. They may sleep in the same bed or be in close contact at school for long periods of time. These types of behavior are normal, but they're also why children are more at risk. Here's what you can do to try and prevent your child or yourself from getting lice.

The most common way to get lice is from head to head contact. Talk to your child about avoiding this type of interaction. It's not always easy, but educating children about the potentially uncomfortable symptoms of head lice might be enough to make a difference. Sharing anything that touches the hair isn't a good idea either. This includes hats, scarves, barrettes, towels and several other commonly shared items. Combs and brushes are extremely important to take into account. In between uses, both should be soaked in hot water to wash away any lice that might be clinging on to them [source: Centers for Disease Control].

If you know someone who has been infested, avoid using furniture they were recently in contact with. The same goes for blankets and toys, especially stuffed animals. Anything an infected person has come in contact with that can and should be washed. Use hot water and high heat when drying. If something can't be washed, simply seal it in a plastic bag for a couple of weeks. You can vacuum as well, but this can be a last resort. The chances of someone becoming infested by lice that have fallen off and made their way onto your carpet are slim [source: Centers for Disease Control].

Despite your best efforts, you or your child may still end up with lice. Keep reading to learn about treatment options.