Yikes. It’s lice season again, mamas. And yes, we know your skin is already crawling because ours is, too. We don’t want to even think about it but most of us have either been through it or know a fellow mama who has had to do battle with these nasty little buggers.
When it comes to lice, knowledge is power. So here’s a list of 10 facts you may not know about lice. We gathered the info from a recent New York Times article that discusses the most effective ways to combat the problem.
1. There is no guaranteed way to prevent a case of lice (although some school teachers we know swear by regular use of tea tree oil used in your shampoo or conditioner.)
2. Daily bathing/showering doesn’t prevent lice because they can survive submerged in water for 20 minutes.
3. The length of a child’s hair or how often it is washed or brushed has little effect on the risk of getting lice.
4. Itching from lice may not begin until four to six weeks AFTER the initial infestation begins, which is why experts recommend that parents do weekly head checks.
5. Lice can ONLY crawl, not jump or hop. Pets do NOT play a role in the spread of lice.
6. Adult lice die within one day of being off of a human’s head. This suggests that, after you treat a case of lice and wash all bedding, you could leave home for a day or two if you want to be extra sure that all lice are dead. They can’t survive more than a day without contact with the human head.
7. The American Academy of Pediatrics said you should NOT treat lice unless there is a clear diagnosis of living lice. (That means you shouldn’t douse your kid’s hair with a pesticide just because you heard that a kid in her class has lice.)
8. Over-the-counter treatment options include products like Nix. There are now prescription lice medications which you can ask your doctor about. Those prescription options include Sklice and Natroba.
9. Some mothers prefer a non-chemical way of treating lice by having all the nits and eggs thoroughly combed out of the hair with a fine-toothed comb. This has become a new business offering for cities like New York, and we also have a service available in Northwest Arkansas called “Nits End NWA.” It’s a service run by a Northwest Arkansas mom Sarah Graham who learned the combing technique and began doing the service for friends’ children who were affected. She is located in Bella Vista.
10. The time and money spent on finding and getting rid of lice costs consumers and schools about $1 billion a year.