Lousy Little Kids

No Respecter Of Persons

It doesn't matter what neighborhood you live in, or what preschool your child attends, or even if your child is old enough to attend preschool-head lice are common to all. It's a frustrating problem, to be sure, and can cause a parent no end of consternation. It isn't so much that the child has head lice; the bigger question is how to get rid of them. Some people aren't sure that regular treatment for lice works because they believe lice have become resistant to treatment, and others believe that misdiagnosis or the failure of parents to treat the problem adequately is the issue.

Diagnosing Head Lice

Head lice symptoms and diagnosis are not too difficult to make. It often starts out with an itchy scalp due to the bites the child endures from the lice. The bites can become infected and appear crusty and red in color. The lymph nodes in the neck become swollen when infection is present. Upon examination, you will find tiny grey or reddish brown live head lice (about the size of a sesame seed) on the child's scalp. Although they neither jump nor fly, they move at a speed that defies explanation, scurrying away into the hair before they can be caught. Another indication of lice is the nits or eggs that are tiny, yellow/white ovals attached to the shafts of hair. Once you confirm that your child has head lice, it is important not to yield to panic. It is not terminal and can be treated.

Head Lice Treatment

The primary treatment for head lice involves the use of a shampoo designed to deal with them. After the shampoo is used, then the job of picking out the nits and lice with a fine tooth comb begins. There are several products available and it is important to follow the manufacturer's directions, regardless which product you choose. If using an anti-lice shampoo is problematic for you, you can try to remove the nits and lice manually. It is tedious, but possible if the infestation is not heavy.

Nits are often hard to find and remove and you could be dealing with them for days after the treatment. As long as there are no live lice on the child's head, the treatment probably worked just fine. However, if there are still live lice on the head after the treatment, then it did not work or the child was reinfected.

Treat The House, Too

It is important also to wash everything that comes in contact with the child's head. That includes towels, bedding, clothing and stuffed animals. Vacuum thoroughly in order to remove nits and lice from mattresses, furniture, and carpets where your child's head has been. Anything that is too large to wash can be placed into a large plastic bag for a few weeks if there is concern of infestation.

The most common reaction of parents to head lice on their children is panic. Remember, panicking will not rid the child of the lice. However, it could lead to over-treatment or anxiety in your child over having "bugs" in their hair.