Beginning a head lice treatment regime is usually started right after the child comes home from school or a group setting, exposed to head lice or being the one who started it. The first priority in the treatment program will be to look at some options – getting the child diagnosed officially, deciding on the treatment of choice, and informing family members and close peers of the situation.
For instance, if the child goes to Sunday School or has recently attended a family or public outing or sleepover where they are in close quarters with others, there is a good chance that the head lice has a good chance of already spreading elsewhere. These places need to be notified so they also can begin head lice treatments.
When the child is taken to the doctor’s office, a scalp and hair examination will be given along with a child-safe prescription to remove the head lice from the child’s scalp. After arriving home, treating the child’s hairbrush and combs is next or throwing them away. If the hairbrush and combs are common property within the family, everyone should be treated as having head lice. Going through the house with a fine tooth comb to removed head lice is next.
Washing in the hottest water possible and drying in a hot dryer for 20 to 30 minutes can be done for the child’s favorite stuffed animals they sleep with. Things like hair scarves, hats, shirts, pillows, sheets, coats, sweatshirts and jackets need to be washed in order to control the head lice situation. If direct contact has been made by the child with their best friends or anyone in the family, like a sibling they sleep with, they will need treatment for head lice also. Hopefully they have been informed right away.
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Treating the child’s hair for head lice removal is a primary concern for parents. There are many non-prescription medication shampoos for head lice or the doctor can prescribe one, such as Nix. Others use alternative methods due to a child’s allergies – natural shampoos, Nit combing or using an electric head lice comb. When using shampoos of any type for head lice, following instructions on the bottles is vital for the total elimination of head lice on the child’s scalp.
Usually the average head lice shampoo goes onto dry hair, with the child’s hair being lathered for about ten minutes until it is thoroughly wet – followed by a good thorough rinsing. Once the shampoo has been applied and rinsed out, combing out dead head lice and their eggs with a nit comb is the next step as any egg (nit) left on the scalp will hatch out to start another head lice infestation.
The nit comb or head lice comb is excellent for removing head lice, whether a head lice shampoo is used or not. Many times they are used together. The best head lice combs are metal with fine teeth that are built strong enough to pull any firmly attached nits off the hair shafts. Any shampooing and nit combing processes are usually repeated – according to their directions – in order to destroy any young nypmphs that are in the hatching stages.
The head lice that have fallen off the child’s head needs to be taken just as seriously as those on the scalp, as they can still attach and thrive within two days. The child’s home, family and friends are open doors to the lice for another infestation, so making sure to treat the home continuously is important in addition to head lice treatments.
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Thoroughly vacuuming the entire home and throwing the vacuum bags away from the home into an outside dumpster, removing and completely washing all bedding along with the child’s clothing and belongings to kill any remaining head lice should be done on a daily basis until the child is declared free of head lice.