Friday, August 3, 2012

Lice: What All Parents Need to Know

Last week I got a call that my next door neighbors had lice.  My kids play with the neighbors next door all the time...great!

Then today I got a call from my neighbor two doors down on the other side that they have lice.  Once again, my kids interact with them all the time.

(By the way, if you aren't itchy by now, you will be in a minute.  But I promise the information that I am going to share with you is going to be valuable!)

So, after I started feeling out-of-control itchy, I contacted a company called Tiny Locks that checks the hair with special eye wear and removes lice if it is found.

Luckily, we are lice-free. But this whole experience has made me wonder what is fact and what is fiction about lice.

Each year there are more that 12 million cases of head lice in the U.S.  Here are some important things you should know about lice:

  • Studies have shown that lice avoid herbs such as rosemary, citronella, geranium, lavender, tea tree and mint.  
  • Having lice is not a sign of poor hygiene, like most people think.  In fact, lice prefer squeaky-clean hair.
  • Lice are small insect that CRAWL.  They cannot Jump or Fly.
  • Lice are firmly glued to the hair shaft and can't be simply "flicked" away like a normal bug or insect.  
  • Lice feed on human blood and can't survive for more than 48 hours without human contact.  So they cannot survive by attaching to nearby furniture, clothing or bedding.
  • You can not give or get lice to or from your pets.  

What can you do to prevent lice?
  • For girls, you can keep their hair pulled back, giving it less of a chance to come in contact with others' hair.
  • Avoid sharing hats, helmets, etc.  
  • Use shampoos, conditioners, styling products that have ingredients like tea tree, lavender, rosemary, etc. to repel lice from the hair.  (We use a detangler product on my daughter's hair called Miracle Detangler by Original Sprout that has rosemary, lavender and tea tree and we absolutely love it!)
  • Be informed and pay attention to your kids.  They won't always present with the itchy symptom, but if they do, take them to the doctor right away or call a lice specialist to check out the hair (it's always better to be safe than sorry!)

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