What are some head lice prevention tips?

Head lice crawls from place to place and is spread by direct contact, which often happens while children play in close contact and have their heads together, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

You can help reduce the risk that you or your child will get lice, according to the CDC, by:

  • Avoiding contact between your hair and someone else’s hair
  • Not sharing clothes, including hats, scarves, coats, and sports uniforms
  • Keeping hair accessories – combs, brushes, pony tail holders, headbands, and more – to yourself

If you do believe you or your child has lice, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends starting with an over-the-counter shampoo treatment containing 1 percent permethrin (such as Nix). Prescription strength medication is also available but not usually necessary.

To keep head lice from coming back, it is also important to get rid of the nits.

Use a special nit comb to help remove the eggs that are “glued” to individual strands of hair, according to the NIH. You can tell the difference between nits and dandruff because the dandruff will brush off easily and the nits will have to be slid off the full length of the strand of hair with a nit comb or between fingernails.

Comb hair for nits again in seven to 10 days, according to the NIH. It is important to carefully follow the directions on this medicine.

Talk to your doctor for more information about how to prevent head lice.

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