Wondering what you can do if your child’s friend has lice? As soon as you find out that you or your child has been around someone that either has head lice or suspects they might, then there are a number of very specific things you must do. By doing these things, you will ensure that you put an end to the issue quickly and efficiently.
What do you do if you’ve been around someone with head lice?
If you have been around someone who has head lice then you need to check your hair as soon as possible to determine if anything has crawled across from their hair onto yours. The best way to check the hair is to get someone else to do it for you.
If someone else can do it then they can really look at the back area of the head. If someone can do it for you, get them to divide the hair into eight sections – four either side of the head.
Then using a long-toothed metal nit comb and some conditioner they need to nit comb a section at a time. When nit combing, they need to look at the comb to see if anything has been caught.
They then need to wipe it with white toilet paper and examine the paper to further see if anything came out. They should then bin the paper and keep working section by section until the whole head has been checked. If you are checking your child, then you can do this for them.
If they find any head lice or eggs, the nits then you have head lice and have no doubt caught them from the person you have been around who has them.
Adult head lice are sesame seed shaped with six legs and they can be dark from the oxidised blood.
Nits, the eggs, are teardrop shaped and glued to the hair shaft. They are generally laid close to the hair root, so if it is a recent infestation you will find all the eggs there.
Female adult head lice only need to mate once, so if one crawls onto your hair, they can start laying eggs immediately, laying up to 10 a day. They live for 30 days, so they can deposit 300 eggs onto your hair in that time.
How long can you have head lice without noticing?
If you catch head lice and are allergic to the saliva they inject as they feed, then you will start itching very quickly. The itching is a great warning sign because then you look to see why that is happening. You ignore the itching at your peril!
If you don’t itch then an infestation can go unnoticed for some time. Whilst it goes unnoticed it will happily multiply. For some it is only when they see the lice in some numbers that they realise they have a head lice problem. These heavy infestations can sneak up on people and shock them when they find lice on the pillow or crawling across their forehead!
So, if you itch, check your hair with a long-toothed metal nit comb to see if anything comes out. If you don’t itch but suspect you have been around someone with head lice, then also check. If you have children at school, you should be regularly checking them for head lice anyway.
Do not check by using a head lice product treatment, instead use a nit comb and some conditioner.
What do you do if your child’s friend has head lice?
If you find out that your child’s friend has head lice then there are several clear steps you need to take as soon as possible.
Firstly, thoroughly check your child’s hair for any signs of head lice and their eggs, the nits. To do this you need to nit comb their hair with a good quality long-toothed metal nit comb. Divide their hair into 8 sections – 4 either side of a middle parting. Nit comb section by section, so you don’t miss anything that could potentially be there. Check the nit comb each time you comb through, wiping it on white toilet paper to clean it. Then double-check to see if anything has come out of it. bin the paper as you go.
You might find nothing, which is great, however, you are advised to check regularly like this to ensure the hair stays clear.
If you find either nits or head lice, or both then they have potentially caught it from the friend, or others they play or hang out with. If this is the case, then you need to clear it by combing thoroughly at a number of different times over a 12-day period. This will ensure that you extract everything that comes through. Also, you should ensure that your child always has their hair securely tied back around their friends, so nothing new can crawl on and re-infest their hair.
You should contact all the parents of your child’s friends to tell them that you have found an infestation on your child which you are sorting and that they should check their child or children. Some parents will just think their child doesn’t have them, and that it is what other people’s children have. Others might just not be aware of them.
Some will think that because their child isn’t itching then they cannot possibly have them. So many will not even look or check. Tell them that 53% are asymptomatic. They won’t itch because they aren’t allergic to the louse saliva injected when they feed.
Parents can get very sensitive about head lice and feeling accused in some way, so do it with respect. Don’t position yourself as the know it all because it will rub people up the wrong way. Instead, give them good facts and play a team game. If everyone checks and clears together then the head lice problem will not continue to go around the class.
What causes head lice to begin with?
Head lice are a parasite that lives off humans and has been around since the beginning of human life. They feed off human blood to survive and depend on our social ways to move from head to head, spreading their populations. If they aren’t cleared out of a head of hair, then they will continue to thrive in that environment.
It is a myth or fallacy that they like dirty hair or dirty people. Head lice do not discriminate at all. They like clean, dirty, healthy, unhealthy, rich, poor, young and old. It’s human blood that drives them and a head of hair to hide in.
How to prevent getting head lice in the first place
To prevent ever getting head lice in the first place it is highly recommended that a child should wear their hair back if it is long enough. Plaits or braids are even safer than a ponytail. If there are known cases of head lice in the class, then you may want to be even safer and put the hair in a bun.
If your child is old enough then encourage them to keep their head away from other’s heads. This reduces the opportunities for head to head contact. Also be vigilant at play dates, making sure that everyone keeps their hair back and don’t play any hair games.
If your child goes to a camp or sleepover then check them the very next day. At sleepovers make sure that they don’t share a bed with another child.
If anyone is unsure whether or not they have head lice and wants a professional check, or if they have them needs it all cleared out, then do contact us. Our network of nit and head lice removal clinics can sort it for you in 2 appointments, 7 days apart.