Seven Tips and Tricks for Preventing Head Lice

Learn how to prevent head lice infestations effectively by following these seven handy tips and tricks.

Girl going back to school
Girl going back to school

It's an all-too-common scenario that every parent fears – the dreaded letter from the school office warning of head lice doing the rounds in the playground or classroom.

But fear not, because we're here with a handy guide full of practical tips and tricks to help you teach your kids how to prevent catching head lice.

Whether you've had a run-in with these tiny troublemakers before or you're just looking to stay ahead of the game, we've got you covered.

Tip 1: Avoid Hair to Hair Contact

If you’re wondering what you can do to prevent head lice infestations, avoiding hair-to-hair contact is the number one rule to follow. Here’s why it matters.

When heads come together, head lice can use this opportunity to hop from one strand to another, instigating a fresh infestation just like that.

Another important rule to keep in mind is that sharing is not on when it comes to personal items like hats, hairbrushes, or even earbuds. 

It might sound obvious, but avoid those head-to-head huddles when taking selfies, during sleepovers, while playing sports and in the playground whenever possible. Tying up hair helps to create a barrier that these tiny climbers can’t easily cross. 

Keep those heads apart and let the lice find their own way around the playground.

Tip 2: Check Hair Frequently 

Checking hair frequently is one of the best head lice prevention tips. So, how do you do it? 

Grab a trusty fine-toothed comb and a well-lit spot – natural light is your best friend here. Section by section, start combing from the roots to the ends, inspecting as you go. 

Keep an eagle eye out for tiny, sesame seed-like creatures clinging to hair shafts or eggs (nits) glued close to the scalp. 

You don't need to turn this into a hair-raising ritual. Checking your children’s hair for lice once a week is usually enough – a little ‘lice patrol’ on a weekend morning, and you're good to go. 

However, if you've heard of a lice outbreak in your school or social circle, up your game and check every few days to catch those critters early.

Tip 3: Avoid Sharing with Others

Keeping head lice at a safe distance means saying a big ‘NO!’ to sharing certain personal items. 

First up, hats. To keep your scalp a no-entry zone for these freeloaders, make sure that cap stays on your head only. 

Hairbrushes? Use your own, and if you're tempted to try out your friend's brush, remember to resist the urge.

Same goes for hair ties, scrunchies, and headbands – they might look cute, but when it comes to lice, they're like a cozy hangout spot. Keep your hair accessories in your own secret stash.

Sharing earbuds is another big no-no. And if you're thinking of swapping helmets or towels – don't. Lice have a knack for hitching rides on those too.

Bottom line: personal hygiene is the way to go in order to stay lice-free. If you want to steer clear of those pesky pests, keep your stuff yours and yours alone. 

It might feel a bit ‘hands-off,’ but it's worth it to keep your hair and scalp lice-free. 

Tip 4: Tie Long Hair Up

Tying up your hair isn't just about style; it can help to keep lice at bay. Tight hairstyles can make it more difficult for head lice to move around and discourage these tiny bloodsuckers from taking hold. 

Braids are a fantastic anti-louse hairstyle. The tiny insects struggle to navigate through the tight twists and turns.

Another winner is the classic bun. High or low, it doesn't matter – just bundle that hair up and secure it. 

Now, for some maintenance tips. First, avoid super tight hairstyles that could stress your hair and scalp. Second, keep an eye out for any signs of lice or nits when you're styling. 

Tip 5: Keep Your Bedsheets and Clothing Clean

Head lice aren't picky; they'll camp out wherever they find a cozy spot and can stay alive on soft surfaces for around 48 hours. Bed sheets and clothes unfortunately can provide prime real estate for these unwelcome guests.

Don’t worry, we've got your back with some cleaning wisdom. Bed sheets should take a spin in the washing machine once a week, using hot water. Lice can't handle the heat, and this helps kick them to the curb. 

As for your clothes, give them a shake and toss them in the dryer on high heat for about 20 minutes. This heat treatment is guaranteed to wipe out any freeloading lice. 

Now, if you've had a close encounter with lice – perhaps you got a letter from kids’ school – amp up your cleaning game. Wash your sheets every few days and put clothes through the spin dryer more frequently.  

Don't forget to vacuum your furniture, too, just in case. Remember, keeping your living space clean and lice-free is the key. So, embrace your inner cleaning guru, and let's make sure those lice don't overstay their unwelcome visit.

Tip 6: Try Preventative Products

These heroes come in various forms, such as treatment shampoos like KP24 Rapid and leave-in prevention products like KP24 Rapid Head Lice Defence Spray. Remember to always read the label and follow the directions for use, as each product might have its unique approach.

These products often contain natural ingredients like tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil, which lice aren't fond of.

Using these defenders is fairly straightforward. Shampoos usually replace your regular wash routine, while sprays can be spritzed on your hair and accessories. 

For leave-in treatments, just apply and leave, and they'll do the rest.

However, a word of caution: some people could be sensitive to certain ingredients, so it’s a good idea to do a patch test before going all-in. 

Tip 7: Clean the Furniture and Floor

Head lice can survive away from human scalps for around 48 hours, turning your comfy couch or bedroom floor into their temporary home. But fear not, we've got a game plan to evict them.

First up, vacuum like you're on a mission. Pay extra attention to upholstery, mattresses, and any nooks and crannies where these critters might have taken refuge. Empty the vacuum outside immediately afterward. 

Next, give your house a heat wave – wash your linens, pillowcases, and soft toys in hot water, followed by a spin in the dryer's high heat setting.

For those non-washable items, like stuffed animals or decorative pillows, toss them in a hot dryer for about 30 minutes. 

Anything that can't handle heat can be sealed in a plastic bag for a week or so – lice can't survive without their human host for that long.

Remember, teamwork makes the dream work. If someone in your home is tackling lice, everyone's got to pitch in. 

And while furniture and floors can be hangout spots, a little cleaning marathon combined with other preventive measures is your best strategy to kick those lice to the curb and reclaim your living space.