Head lice is common in school settings. Lice are six-legged parasites about the size of a sesame seed that live on the human head. They lay eggs called nits, that glue onto hairs near the scalp particularly around and behind the ears and near the neckline at the back of the head.
Typical symptoms of head lice include the tickling feeling of something moving in the hair; itching, caused by an allergic reaction to lice bites; irritability and difficultly sleeping (head lice apparently are most active in the dark) and sores on the head caused by scratching.
According to the CDC, an estimated 6-12 million children aged 3 through 11 get lice each year with young girls more likely than boys to have an infestation of the tiny critters.
And contrary to popular belief, contracting lice has nothing to do with cleanliness or class. These are equal-opportunity pests who will live in anyone’s hair, whether it’s long or short, clean or dirty or if they are rich or poor. They also cannot hop, jump or fly. Head lice is spread only by direct contact with the hair of an infested person – but not only by heads touching, but by sharing combs/brushes, hats and even pillowcases.
As a parent it is something I worry about. Just talking or writing about it makes my own scalp itchy! I dread getting a note sent home or an email notifying me that there is a case of lice in the classroom.
These tiny, cringe-worthy bugs can definitely cause some big drama, but that’s only if you let them. I chatted with Cozy Friedman, founder of Cozy’s Salon for Kids and SoCozy hair products who shared with me some helpful tips to preventing lice:
1 – Avoid Sharing: OK, so you’ve spent the first few years of parenting trying to instill the virtue of sharing in your kids, but when it comes to lice prevention, you need to put the brakes on sharing some specific items that love to serve as mass transportation for lice. Some of the most popular are: combs, brushes, hats and hair accessories.
2 – Don’t Over-Wash Hair: Think that washing your kids’ hair every day will keep lice away? Think again. Lice loooooove a squeaky-clean hair shaft because it makes attaching the egg-pods (the aforementioned nits) SO much easier. The natural buildup of oils on the scalp between shampoos is an easy, natural way to keep lice from setting up camp on your child’s scalp. Allow at least two or three days between washings for best results. An added bonus? Those natural oils make hair naturally shiny!
3 – Get the Hair Spray: Spritz Away! Don’t shy away from hairspray, lice despise it.
4 – Double-Duty Clean-Up: The last thing stressed-out moms and dads need is more cleaning, but to help prevent lice it’s definitely worth it. Take an extra few minutes to clean the items your child’s head frequently touches, like pillows, couch cushions, stuffed animals, hats, brushes/combs, hair accessories and car seats.
5 – Say No to Hair Play: Lots of kids, especially little girls, love to play dress-up and beauty parlor, and do each other’s hair. When lice is around board games may be a better option.
6 – Scare Lice Away: Keep lice away by using lice prevention hair care products that feature natural ingredients that have been clinically proven to repel the little critters such as tea tree oil, rosemary, peppermint and lavender which are found in SoCozy’s Boo! Lice Scaring System which includes Shampoo and Spray. Bonus tip – you can also use the spray on pillows, hats, combs , brushes and anything else that frequently touches hair.
You can find all of SoCozy hair care products on their website and at Target.
Now it’s your turn to share. What’s your favorite shampoo/conditioner scent?
For Full Disclosure: The Harried Mom was not compensated for this post and it does not contain any affiliate links. However, I have been provided with SoCozy’s Boo! Lice System to keep lice out of my kidlet’s heads. As always, the opinions expressed in this post and on The Harried Mom blog are all my very own and are not influenced in any way. Please do your own research before purchasing any products as your opinion may differ.
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