Dealing with lice on your child’s head and in your household.
If your child is one of the 6-12 million children between ages 3 and 12 who gets lice this year, well, it’s obvious you are not alone. Alzein Pediatric Associates is here to give you information about symptoms and treatment.
My son won’t stop scratching his head! Is it lice?
Wet your son’s head and use a magnifying glass and a fine-toothed comb to check the 1/4” of hair closest to your son’s scalp for nits (eggs). Carefully scan the hair strands, especially behind the ears and at the nape of the neck, for quick-moving nymphs and adults. They are incredibly small, so look intensely.
Why did my daughter get lice? Her hair is washed several times a week!
Head lice (pediculus humanus capitis) doesn’t care if your child’s hair is clean or dirty. Lice feed on human blood, which they get at the scalp, not within the hair.
So how did she get it?
Your daughter became infested by head-to-head contact, as lice don’t hop, fly or jump. They just crawl. Head-to-head contact is most common at school, playgrounds, slumber parties, camps and during playdates. It is very unlikely she became infected by sharing clothing, hair accessories or grooming tools.
Do we get reported?
No. Most health departments don’t require lice infestation reports, but please tell your child’s teacher and other caretakers so steps can be taken to prevent or stop the lice in all children, so your own child doesn’t get re-infested after treatment.
How do I get rid of lice?
Head to your local drug store and purchase an over-the-counter lice treatment. Follow the directions carefully and thoroughly. Use just one product and wash your child’s hair over the sink to prevent the product from touching unaffected skin. Wait two days before shampooing hair, and wait a full week before retreating.
Inspect everyone in your family and treat as necessary.
What about my house?
Soak combs and brushes in hot water for at least 10 minutes. Wash all sheets, pillow cases, blankets, clothing, and towels in the hottest water setting and dry on the hottest setting for at least 10 minutes. Run pillows and stuffed animals through the dryer on the hottest setting for 20-30 minutes. Vacuum floors, carpets and furniture thoroughly. Don’t worry about dogs and cats; they are not carriers.
Lice just not dying?
If you’ve completed two treatments and lice are still present, your child could be experiencing lice that have mutated and developed a resistance to most over-the-counter treatments. These “super lice” are present in Illinois and most of our surrounding states. Make an appointment as soon as possible with Alzein Pediatric Associates by calling 708-424-7600 or clicking here and we can prescribe a more potent medication.
Not seeing any lice but your child is still itching and scratching?
It could be another dermatological condition affecting your child. Make an appointment with us and we’ll do a thorough examination to determine a diagnosis and ease your child’s discomfort.