Imagine this… you’re easing yourself into January, the holidays are (finally!) over, and you can breathe again. There are no more parties to go to, no more guests to host, and your house is free from holiday decorations. (Well, sort of…)
You’re going back to work, and the kids are getting ready to go back to school. They’re dressed, their teeth are clean, and now you’re trying to brush any remaining holiday party cookie crumbs from their hair. And suddenly—you see it.
Tiny specks all over their scalp.
Argh! Could it be… head lice?
Here’s the bad news: Head lice are pretty common post-holidays. Your kids are in contact with lots of other kids, there are loads of parties and extended family gatherings, and probably a few extra hugs are going around.
So yes, it very well could be the dreaded lice. But if you’re not sure, this video shows you how to check your child for lice step-by-step. It’s a good place to start.
But what if it’s true?
When we find lice in our children’s hair, a million questions immediately start flashing through our minds. First, What have I done??? What kind of monster of a parent lets their child get head lice???
And then, Where did they come from? How do I get rid of them? What if they never leave? How do I stop this from happening again? What if I can’t make it stop and we’re destined to be known as “the lice family” forever?
Here’s the good news: You are not a monster. And no family is “the lice family” forever. Maybe for a day or two, maybe even a few weeks, but give it time and a new “lice family” will replace you in everyone’s memories.
So let’s take a deep breath and learn a little more about lice, because in this case, ignorance is not bliss.
Lice are tiny, six-legged, wingless, and—to use the technical term—very, very icky bugs. The nearly-invisible specks you find in your child’s hair are sometimes the insects themselves and sometimes their eggs. Lice are always on the lookout for a comfortable place to lay their eggs, and, contrary to popular belief, they actually gravitate toward cleanliness. This makes sense—we want our kids to live in clean homes, too (whether or not most of us actually keep our homes as clean as we think we should… another story). So if your kid has lice—it’s not a sign of dirtiness. Lice like warm heads and are spread by head-to-head contact.
Look at it this way: if your child has head lice, they’re probably well-cared-for and get lots of hugs from friends and family.
Of course, we’d all like to prevent lice from appearing in the first place, right? There are a few simple steps you can take to prevent lice from arriving in the first place (or to prevent them from returning).
– Don’t share anything that comes into contact with your head—this includes combs, hats, and scarves. Lice pass mostly from head-to-head contact but will die when they are away from hair for 24 hours.
– If you get the dreaded “lice outbreak” letter from school, avoid hugs and holiday selfies for awhile.
– And keep checking your kids for lice. The sooner they’re detected, the better chance you have of keeping them from spreading (and the better chance you have of keeping everyone from ever knowing you were “the lice family”).
But if prevention tactics have failed you, and you suspect your child has lice (and yes, sometimes it’s hard to tell because lice look an awful lot like dirt or dandruff), just know that you don’t have to walk through this alone. Just schedule an appointment with us. We’re very experienced at this sort of thing. And we can do a thorough lice inspection with no parental (or child) shaming involved, whatsoever…promise!
It’s also good to note that if those little dots do end up being lice, you don’t have to throw everything you own in the washer. (Although you may want to take this as an opportunity to get your kids involved in giving their room a little extra cleaning… just for fun.) Sure, you’ll want to wash pillowcases, brushes, and combs. But blankets and sheets can just be thrown directly into the dryer. You don’t even need to worry about cleaning the dust ruffle or curtains at all. Check out this article for some more in-depth instructions on how to clean after lice.
And by the way if you were one of those kids, like me, that was sent to bed with a shower cap filled with mayo on your head as a cure for lice – yep, disgusting! – you should know that according to the CDC, there’s very little evidence that mayo (or butter or olive oil) actually work to kill lice. So let’s stop coating our kids in condiments. Instead, you can stop by your local KidSnips to pick up lice treatment and prevention products that actually will help. And we’ll gladly answer any questions you have about how to use them.
While we are happy to check your child for head lice, we want to protect everyone in our salons, so we follow state guidelines and cannot cut your child’s hair until the lice has been cleared up. If you would like to purchase a lice treatment kit, our stylists will gladly talk you through the instructions and answer any questions you may have.
We trust The Center for Disease Control for the most up-to-date information about head lice prevention and treatment. For answers to your questions, please click here: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/