Summer is winding down and parents are getting ready to send their kids back to school. While finishing summer reading, stocking up on school supplies, and getting new haircuts are first and foremost on our to do lists, one thing we might not think about is preparing for head lice! August and September are the busiest months for head lice. Kids are coming back to school after a summer of play dates, camp, and sleepovers which significantly increases their chances of picking up head lice before school starts back. In fact, more than 12 million kids each year get head lice. While they can definitely be a nuisance to get rid of, head lice haven’t been shown to spread disease. So what should you do if you get the dreaded note from school that someone in your child’s class has head lice?

  1. Check everyone in the household, not just the child in the affected class but only treat those who have active infestations.
  2. Wash any hats, scarves, clothes, bedding, pillow cases, stuffed animals, towels, etc in hot water and dry them on the hottest setting.
  3. Any items that can’t be laundered should be dry cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag for 2 weeks.
  4. Don’t share hats, brushes, combs, or towels that come in contact with the hair.
  5. Vacuum your furniture and floors.
  6. Soak brushes and combs in hot water for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Follow the instructions on your lice treatment medication closely.
  8. Do not use conditioner or a shampoo/conditioner combination product before using lice medicine.
  9. Don’t rewash the hair for 1-2 days after treatment.
  10. Check the head carefully after treatment. If you don’t see any dead lice 8-12 hours after treatment the medicine may not be working. You should contact your health care provider for more treatment options.
  11. Check the hair every 2 to 3 days for 2 to 3 weeks to make sure all lice and nits are completely gone.