Head Lice Prevention Tips and Lice Fact VS. Fiction

Here are some head lice prevention tips you can use to reduce the chances your child will bring home these pesky critters:

stages of live lice

Four Stages of Live Lice Recovered from the Head of a Child Treated with Permethrin

  • Children with longer hair should wear their hair up. Braids, buns or “French ponytails” are the best method for securing loose hair. Narrow the target!  Leaving loose flying hair is like setting out a ladder for lice to use to climb onto your child’s head.
  • Children with shorter hair should keep their hair neatly trimmed. Shorter hair means less points of contact with other heads.
  • Children should be advised against sharing personal items used on the head. This means hair brushes, hair accessories, hooded sweatshirts, baseball or other hats, batting, bike safety and all other helmets.
  • There is no 100% effective repellent for lice, however, peppermint and citronella offer the best chances for repelling lice. There are sprays that contain both of these that you can spray on your child’s head. It is not a guarantee, but you can certainly up your odds.

Head Lice Fact VS Fiction

  • Lice do NOT jump or fly. They crawl. In fact, they can crawl up to 9” per minute!
  • Lice prefer CLEAN hair (although they will take any head available). They are not a sign of bad hygiene.
  • Not everyone who has head lice will feel itchy. This is especially true if a person is taking antihistamines for allergies of any kind.
  • When looking for lice, it is easier to find nits (eggs) than it is to find live lice on the head. Lice hide from light. While lice might be seen in the hair or on the scalp, nits (eggs) are found only on the HAIR, not the scalp.
  • Nits, once off the head, cannot be transferred to another person. Nits are NOT WHITE! They range from a tan color to a dark grey-brown color depending on the head they come from.
  • 90% of cases of head lice are acquired by direct head-to-head contact. About 8% of cases come from the sharing of personal items such as hair accessories, hats, etc. Only 2% cases or less are acquired from the environment (i.e. movie/airplane seatbacks, furniture, backpacks, etc.)
  • Over-the-counter pesticide products like Rid® or Nix® are toxic pesticides and do not always kill all live lice nor do they kill eggs. In order to end an infestation, you MUST defeat the life cycle of the head louse. This means using a safe, reliable product to kill all live lice and removing nits from the hair! There exists no product, prescription or OTC that is a single treatment solution for head lice.
  • Families do not encounter recurrent lice infestation due to poor house-cleaning. Lice DO NOT infest places, they infest people. Unless all heads are properly treated, lice will continue to be an issue. You cannot clean lice out of your house unless you remove it from your family members’ heads.

You can use these lice prevention tips to try to avoid having a case of lice in the family, but keep in mind that your children don’t get lice because of anything you do wrong or don’t do right. If you discover your child has lice it is important to inform anyone your children have been in contact with over the past 2-3 weeks to let them know that you have lice so that they can be properly checked and treated. It is equally important to do some basic housekeeping to ensure that no one comes in contact with an adult louse that may have left the head. Got questions? Contact Lisa at: (908)548-4480 or email NJLiceLady@gmail.com