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How to Identify and Treat Lice

Know how to properly check and treat your child for head lice. Video courtesy of Le Bonheur Children's Hospital.

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-Today, we're going to talk about lice. Anyone can get lice. There are many myths and facts out there about how lice are spread. So, things that may prompt you to look for lice in your child's hair include a note from school stating that they have found a child that has lice or your child may complain of an itchy scalp. And so, I'm gonna demonstrate on Grace how to look for lice and nits in your child's hair. Depending on whether they have long or short hair, this may be an easy or a difficult process, but I would recommend first starting around the ear, behind the ear, and along the hairline especially the nape of the hairline. And so, as you look along the there, a lot of times it is easier to find the nits. Additionally, in someone with longer hair, a lot of times it's better to divide it into sections. And so, you might want to pull part of the hair to the other side, rubber band it, and then you want to go piece by piece through the hair using a fine tooth comb. And so, as you can see, we're brushing through the hair and looking very closely for any nits. Now, I'll tell you that you'll probably not see lice because they, with the movement, will run away from you looking for lice, but you might for nits. And you're gonna find them closer to the hair line like I said. You're also gonna probably find them approximately a centimeter from the hairline, which may suggest that there's an active infestation. If you were to find nits or lice in your child's hair, there are many over-the-counter products that you can use to get rid of the lice. Products such as Rid and Nix are available over-the-counter. And you can get those without a prescription. And I would encourage you to follow the directions very closely, paying specific attention to how to apply the product and the age limitations on the product. And because several of the products require more than 1 treatment, you should follow the instructions and treat and then wait approximately 7 to 10 days and then retreat your child. If you still find that you are seeing nits in the hair after the second treatment, then you wanna seek advice from your pediatrician for other possible treatments or to see if you are following the instructions appropriately. As you can see, we've got along the hairline, paying particular attention to the edge of the scalp and getting through all of Grace's hair. And you would just continue that process until you've done this entire section and then go to the next section until you've looked at the entire scalp. So, if you find lice on your child and have treated them for it, you make sure that you've checked all adults and children in the household for lice as well and treat those that you found lice. In addition, you wanna make sure to take all of your linens. Bed linens, towels, and clothing. Wash them on the highest setting in your washing machine and then dry them on the highest setting and that will kill any lice that are remaining. You can vacuum your carpets, but there's no need to spray for lice. In addition, for things that cannot be washed in the washing machine, you wanna bag those up, seal 'em for 2 weeks, and then you can remove them and they can be used again. The most important thing is to tell your child that this does not mean that they're dirty or have a hygiene problem and there are no long-term consequences due to getting lice because it is common. And so, if you have any further questions, please contact your pediatrician and they can guide you with any other questions you might have.