It is nearly impossible to know exactly how many kids are impacted by lice every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that somewhere between six and 12 million infestations occur every year across the United States. These are typically in children who are between the ages of three and 11. For children who are suffering through an infestation, the number of lice on their head is probably around 10. Schools send out pamphlets on how to treat lice and how to spot lice but it can still be a challenge for most parents.
One issue with lice is that many kinds who have lice so not know about it. Nearly 60% of those with an infestation have no idea. If you are concerned that your child has been impacted by lice, you should check before you go to a lice treatment center. You will need to conduct your search in a well lit room. It can be hard to see lice but the first step in how to treat lice is to find it.
You need to know what they look like. Adult lice have a light brown color. They are about the same size as sesame seeds. Their nits are much smaller and will be glued to the hair very close to the scalp at the level of the follicle. Depending on the stage of their life when you find them, their color may vary. They can be white, yellow or brown. If you use a blacklight, they will be blue.
How to check on wet hair:
1. Start by washing and conditioning your child’s hair. When you do this, use the shampoo and conditioner. The reason for using the conditioner is simple. Any live lice that are on your child’s head will be at the base of the root. When you use the conditioner, you may stop them from moving up the hair and away from the scalp. This can make it easier to see them.
2. Take a wide toothed comb to go through your child’s hair. This step is meant to get rid of any knots or tangles.
3. Take a while cloth and put it across your child’s shoulders. This will catch any lice that fall off of your child and will make it easy to see them and get rid of them. You may want to use a small flashlight for this step. Some people use a magnifying glass as well.
4. Take a lice removal comb and start at the roots of your child’s hair. Separate the hair into sections and go through each with the comb. This can be a tedious process but when you are looking at how to treat lice, you have to do it. Give some extra time to looking at the nape of your child’s neck and the area around their ears.
5. After each pass of the comb, examine it carefully. Rinse it under some water and remove any nits or nice with a paper towel. You can have a dish of rubbing alcohol to put them in.
How to check on dry hair:
1. Brush your child’s hair to get out any tangles.
2. Dip your lice removal comb in white vinegar.
3. Separate your chid’s hair into sections and follow the same procedure you can use when you check wet hair.
A big part of how to treat lice is knowing they are a problem in the first place. A lot of that comes when you have been notified that there has been a problem with lice at your child’s school or camp. It should be noted that if you have more than one child and one of your children has been found to have lice, you will need to be extra careful with your other children. More than 80% of children with lice do end up passing the insects on to their siblings. If you take one child for treatment for lice, you should probably take them all in at the same time.
Lice are really gross. Because so few kids will know that they have lice, it is easy for them to pass it around to everyone else in their class before anyone knows so being diligent is very important.