If you have school age children, then you know The Fear. You know—the terrified feeling, complete with chills down your spine and an involuntary shudder, at the mere mention of the L-word. That’s right—I’m talking about LICE!
And, if you’ve had kids in school long enough, chances are you’ve gotten The Call. The call that makes you feel like the worst, most rottenest parent ever, because you let Little Johnnie get so dirty that he now has giant blood sucking bugs living in his dirty hair! EGAD! It’s the call from the school nurse telling you that you need to come pick up your child due to lice being found during a routine lice head check.
Well, I’ve got news for you—there’s a good chance that your school isn’t even looking for head lice on a regular basis anymore. As of a few years ago, most schools don’t head check anymore. ice is not considered to be dangerous, although it is pretty icky, and it can also contribute to unnecessary absenteeism. Lice also isn’t as “contagious” as most people believe it is, and having head lice comes with a stigma that can lead to bullying and exclusion. So, instead of performing regular head checks, many schools now only check for lice when they find out that children already have lice.
I’m not quite sure how I feel about this “live and let lice” policy, but one thing’s for sure—it’s up to us, as parents, to prevent lice in the first place. And, with the beginning of a new school year upon us, it’s the perfect time to brush up on how to prevent lice in the first place.
Tips to Prevent Lice
- Check for lice often. If the schools don’t head check in your area, it’s a good idea to check for lice yourself. You don’t have to drive yourself crazy with this, but going through your child’s hair and carefully inspecting the scalp will help you prevent lice problems of epic proportions! Lice is much easier to take care of if caught early, so be sure to check every week to two weeks.
- Put long hair up. Here’s your chance to play with all of those fun hairstyles you’ve been eyeing on Pinterest! You can help prevent lice by putting long hair up in a ponytail, braid, bun, or similar hairstyle. This makes it harder for lice to burrow into the hair to get to the scalp.
- Use hair products. Contrary to popular belief, lice actually prefer clean hair, which is easier to move around in. You can use hairspray, mousse, or gel to simulate dirty hair. Use this as a little extra protection for updos.
- Use essential oils. There are some oils that can actually repel lice, particularly lavender and tea tree oil. Adding a few drops of either essential oil to your child’s shampoo and conditioner can help prevent lice. You can also spritz the hair and scalp with a solution of these essential oils and water for added protection.
- Don’t share. We love to teach our kids that sharing is caring, but that isn’t always a good thing. In some cases, sharing can result in a nasty case of lice. To prevent lice on your child, let them know to refrain from sharing anything that comes in contact with the head or hair. This includes, but isn’t limited to, hairbrushes, hair ties, hats, scarves, headphones, and hoodies. It could also include sharing secrets as well, since lice are spread easiest through direct head to head contact.