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Ahead Of The Game: School, Head Lice, And Treatments.

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

Okay, school has been officially in full swing for at least a month now, and it’s likely that your child has brought home his or her first project, assignment, etc. It’s also likely that with the change of season you’re child may have brought home his/he first cold. But, another thing many children bring home from school is head lice. And, according to experts, the head scratching often starts well in advance of any visible signs of the condition. Plus, it does not discriminate, as very cleanly children are just as susceptible as their less meticulous classmates.

According to experts about 6 to 12 million children are affected by lice annually. And, they add that these sesame sized insects feed off human blood and then stick their miniature eggs to the hare. But, besides being gross, professionals point out that head lice is relatively harmless (and again, no reflection on personal hygiene).

They (they experts) add that since these brown or gray insects don’t transmit disease there is not health related urgency to get rid of them. However, parents may see the situation differently. However, many treatments could be exposing children to insecticides that are more harmful and toxic, and less effective that they know or realize.

In fact, recent research reveals that in some schoolchildren screened for lice, scientists found that 4 out of 5 bugs did not respond to the lice “fighting” pesticides known as pyrethroids found in over-the-counter products. And, French researchers suggest a link between childhood exposure to OTC lice shampoos with an increased risk of leukemia.

And, while they say the connection is NOT definitive, there DOES seem to be a correlation that should not be dismissed or ignored.

However, alternative treatments such as olive oil and petroleum jelly or mayo and messy and don’t do much. In fact, a louse’s honeycomb-like respiratory apparatus gives it the ability to “hold it’s breath” until the mixture or substance is gone. The good news is that you can often spot and eradicate an infestation safely and effectively by taking the following course of action.

1. Conduct Frequent Head Checks: Look for nits, yellow or white eggs the size of a tiny knot of thread that sticks to the base of hair strands. And, focus on the nape of the neck and behind the ears.

2. Avoid Jumping To Conclusions: Many times what parents see are bits and pieces of debris, dandruff or dirt. And, they add, if you don’t see anything crawling, it’s likely not lice.

3. Take A Hands-On Approach: Experts suggest combing through your child’s hair daily with a fine-tooth comb until you no longer see a live louse for about 2 weeks. But, if that doesn’t work, then try an Over-the-counter shampoo and follow the directions verbatim, especially since nits can hatch and cause re-infestation. And, keep in mind that these shampoos have not been proven safe for children younger than 2. Also, if you still come across live bugs after two treatments, consult your pediatrician about a prescription lice killer.

4. No Need To Fumigate: Keep in mind that lice are transferred from head-to-head contact but can’t exist for too long off a warm scalp, even on hats, hairbrushes, or car seats. So, fumigating and incessantly vacuuming isn’t necessary. Simply wash your child’s bedding and recently worn clothing in hot soapy water. And, don’t worry about pets either; head lice can only live on humans.

5. Take a Natural Approach: Keep your eye out for an anticipated natural cure that is currently being tested. According to researchers the lice asphyxiator, a combination of non-pesticide ingredients clogs the bugs’ breathing holes and kills up to 100 percent of the insects and their eggs in 10 minutes.

Long Island Family Life & Parenting Articles > Ahead Of The Game: School, Head Lice, And Treatments.

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