Back to School: How to Prevent Head Lice, Including ‘Super Lice’

Child Scratching Head Because of LiceFall is prime-time for head lice. Now that school has started, the chances of catching head lice have greatly increased. Although it can be an embarrassing situation to get the dreaded call from your school nurse, thankfully lice can be treated with a mixture of at-home and medical remedies. It’s not an issue of cleanliness; it’s more of an infestation that’s related to close contact. Below, our medical staff at eMedical walk-in medical clinic will show you how to spot the symptoms and ways to prevent head lice.

Head Lice Symptoms

Recognizing the symptoms of “Pediculus Humanus Capitis,” head lice, can help to prevent an outbreak. Symptoms include:
Itching, especially behind the ears, on the scalp and at the nape of the neck. This telltale sign is a reaction to the lice’s saliva, which they inject when they’re feasting on the host’s blood from under the skin.
Visible lice and eggs on the neck, hair and other parts of the body. Look closely at your child’s head under a bright light and you can spot the light brown, sesame seed-size bug darting around. You also might spot nits, their eggs, which will be clinging to the hair shaft next to your child’s scalp.
Sores and broken skin on the scalp.

Head Lice Treatment

It’s important to treat head lice before it becomes worse. On average, kids with lice will have about 10 live lice living on their heads, but their scalps can be home to hundreds of eggs! But before you panic with that thought, know that it can be treated.

First, treat your child and you house. Use an over-the-counter medicated shampoo rinse with permethrin (brand examples include Nix and Rid) to kill the lice. Sometimes a second treatment is necessary to apply one week later to kill any newly hatched eggs.

Concurrently, hot-water wash (130 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter) all of the linens, towels, clothing, brushes, combs, car seats and blankets that your child has been in contact with recently. Check everyone else in the house and do a thorough cleaning of the house including carpets and furniture. Since lice can only live for about 1-2 days off the scalp, seal all stuffed toys and pillows in a plastic bag for 48 hours to prevent the lice from escaping and multiplying on a new host.

Mutated Super Lice

Unfortunately, we’ve seen “Mutated Super Lice” that have developed a partial resistance to common over-the-counter permethrin treatments. So what’s a parent to do?

Tackling the tough task can be a major headache for parents, but thankfully there are still ways to keep the bug in check. Different, stronger chemicals only available by prescription still prove to be effective and may be your only option. eMedical NJ pediatric urgent care facilities treat a variety of childhood illnesses and can provide the prescription necessary to clear your child’s head…literally.

Preventing Head Lice

Parents often fear the large numbers of children at school hugging, sharing food, sharing bathrooms, coughing, touching and just about sharing everything under the sun including germs, viruses, bacteria and lice. And now that the American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a statement that children with head lice do not need to be kept home from school, many New Jersey parents are understandably worried.

Lice get around quickly by jumping from one surface (child) to the next, making them difficult to find and catch. Teach your child to never share combs, brushes, hats, scarves, hair accessories, helmets, pillows: “Never Share What Touches the Hair.” Teach your child to hang his or her coat and hat on an individual rack instead of tossing them into a pile on the floor. Check your child’s hair weekly throughout the school year, and of course be on high alert when the school tells parents there is a lice problem. Recognize the symptoms listed above and don’t panic… head lice infestations are common, affecting up to 12 million kids each year. It’s not a sign of poor hygiene. They’re not dangerous. But they sure can bug you.

Call on eMedical Urgent Care

If your child still has lice after two over-the-counter treatments, has open, oozing sores or has a fever, report to eMedical Urgent Care immediately. If you want to consult with a medical professional about your child’s lice problem, visit eMedical Urgent Care EMO Middletown NJ (732) 957-0707 or EMO Berkeley Heights (908) 464-6700 for quick and reliable urgent care assistance! With professional medical help and a commitment to the health of your family, eMedical Urgent Care offers weekend doctor’s office and after hours doctor’s office walk-in care.

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