Did you know that an estimated 612 million infestations of head lice occur each year in children in the United States? We met with the “Lice Lady”, Michelle Earl to talk about what these little insects are and how we can prevent our children from ever having to worry about them.
Michelle says the critters are wingless, parasitic insects that feed on human blood to survive. They can be found not only in hair, but in eyebrows and eyelashes as well. Schools are a very popular breeding ground for these bugs due to the large number of children that are together, whether it’s on the bus, at recess, or during classroom activities. And most of the time, a family won’t discover lice for about four to six weeks!
Michelle says to look for intense itching of the scalp, small red bumps on the scalp, neck and/or shoulders, or tiny white specks on hair, clothing, hats, and hairbrushes. These white specks are nits, commonly referred to as eggs that take eight to nine days to hatch. Obviously, we don’t want to be sharing any type of clothing or bedding with someone who has lice. Lice can also sometimes be found in furniture or carpets, so be sure and clean these on a regular basis.
If your child has lice, don’t panic, there is a cure! Use a lice control shampoo. You should also get a quality nit comb (a normal comb is not fine enough to remove nits and lice from hair); a flea comb for pets may also be used. Apply the lice treatment to the hair and follow the instructions, especially regarding the duration of how long the treatment should be left on and how it should be removed.
Michelle also mentioned that it’s important to treat your home and cars as well, as these little buggers can be anywhere. Remember, lice are very difficult to detect in its early stages due to its small size, so be sure to check thoroughly when looking.
When it comes to our kids, we can never be too safe. Although there is no reason to be paranoid about lice, it’s important to keep tabs on these parasites so they don’t invade not only our children but our homes.