Anyone anywhere will cringe when they hear the words head lice. This common problem causes stress and anxiety for parents and children involved. Head lice are a major concern for parents of young children who attend public schools, daycares, church youth programs or just about anywhere else where there are groups of kids. And they should be!
Every year up to 12 million children in the United States alone will contract head lice, according to the Centers for Disease Control. As a parent or guardian, you may be wondering what is the biggest cause of head lice? How can I prevent it?
Biggest Cause of Head Lice Spread
You guessed it, groups of children are usually the main source for head lice outbreaks. If your child has head lice, they likely got it from direct head to head contact with another child. Children between the ages of 3-12 are more prone to head lice infestations. With that being said, we are seeing more and more cases of teenage head lice with the new super lice dilemma that is sweeping the nation. Some blame this on the selfie or sharing of small electronic devices. Others think that super lice are just harder to kill and therefore affecting more people.
The main way adults or teens catch head lice is from a smaller child who lives in the same home. Parents, grandparents, or teens who live with children are much more likely to catch head lice than other adults.
How Can I Prevent Head Lice?
Children need to be screened for head lice often. Lice Clinics of America is a great source for head lice screenings. We can show you what signs are prevalent with a head lice outbreak. We have the proper nitpicking tools to teach you how to dig through the scalp and identify head lice or remove it.
Checking often, being aware of symptoms and signs of head lice, and talking to your children about not sharing hairbrushes, hats, coats, or accessories that could have head lice are all good places to start in the battle of prevention.
We also provide head lice screenings in our clinic for the whole family. Some people erroneously believe that if their child has head lice, as long as they are treated the problem is gone. Not true. Most often adults catch head lice from their own children. Be sure to have everyone in your home screened before assuming your head lice problem is gone.
Can’t I Just Wash My Child’s Hair?
Many people think that head lice only prefer dirty or clean hair. Neither is true. In fact, head lice have shown no distinct preference in several tests. Anyone with hair, regardless of hygiene, is at risk for head lice.
Head lice are also able to hold their breath for 6-8 hours. For this reason, simply washing hair does not kill them. They are also equipped to grip onto hair strands with claws that are attached to the bottom of their legs. This prevents them from simply being washed away during shampooing.