September 3, 2013
Happy National Head Lice Prevention Month
Did you read the title of this post and scratch your head? I did. Let’s not even get started on the horrifying results of a google image search….I may not sleep tonight. I thought I would write this post on the day I went back to school. I find the irony in the day that I celebrated head lice prevention is also the same day that I met all of my students for the first time, I’m not saying that I’m going to get lice this year…knock on wood. I’m just saying that I get a lot of hugs and sometimes from kids who have lice.
I’ve only gotten lice twice in my life. Which is amazing, especially considering how many kids I am around and how thick my hair is. If I was a louse I would want to live on my head….it would be luxurious! Once from summer camp and once from school, both times as an adult though.
The precautions that I take are the following:
-Put tea tree oil in my shampoo.
-Wear my hair in a pony-tail.
-Don’t hug kids while wearing scarves or lanyards.
-Try not to lean over kids while wearing scarves or lanyards.
-Mostly just don’t wear scarves or lanyards.
Here are some recommendations from the CDC:
- Avoid head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact during play and other activities at home, school, and elsewhere (sports activities, playground, slumber parties, camp).
- Do not share clothing such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, hair ribbons, or barrettes.
- Do not share combs, brushes, or towels. Disinfest combs and brushes used by an infested person by soaking them in hot water (at least 130°F) for 5-10 minutes.
- Do not lie on beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have recently been in contact with an infested person.
- Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that an infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry-cleaned OR sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.
- Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay. However, spending much time and money on housecleaning activities is not necessary to avoid reinfestation by lice or nits that may have fallen off the head or crawled onto furniture or clothing.
- Do not use fumigant sprays or fogs; they are not necessary to control head lice and can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
Here are some more things I found interesting about lice. This is from Headlice.org.
Once laid, it takes 7-10 days for a nit to hatch. Nits off the head may not even hatch at all as they are laid close to scalp because they need human warmth to incubate. A nit hatching off of a head results in tiny nymph head louse which, without an accessible/nearby human, is doomed because it requires an immediate blood meal.
Adult head lice off of their human hosts will generally not survive for more than 24 hours.
Swimming with someone who has lice carries no greater risk of transmission than any other activity. When lice are in water, they go into a state of suspended animation but remain firmly locked onto the hair – literally hanging on for dear life. This is how they survive shampooing, rain, seawater and swimming pools. Risk of transmission will occur with the sharing of towels, piling clothing or towels, storing personal items in close proximity or direct head to head contact.
Home remedies that have been tried include vinegar, mayonnaise, petroleum jelly, olive oil, butter, rubbing alcohol, and prolonged water submersion. These all fail to eliminate infestation, because these therapies do not kill all of the eggs or lice. This is believed due to the specialized way the parasite “breathes.”
Hair removal has never been proven to be effective, but since the louse requires a hair shaft to lay its eggs, it should prevent the lice from multiplying. This is not always considered a desirable option for many children.
Here is one more lice preventing thing I saw today at the movie theater. It’s really hot at my house so I’ve been escaping to the air conditioning…one movie at a time.