What to Do If Your Child Comes Home with Lice

There is no need to panic if you find out your child has lice- you only need to know the simple steps to eliminate lice efficiently. Use the following guidelines to help combat lice from your primary care doctor in Arkansas.

Lice are most commonly transferred between children in preschool and elementary school. There is no need to be alarmed by discovering your child has lice, as the tiny bugs do not carry diseases and do not cause any harm to children or to others who have lice. They do cause itching for children and anxiety in parents who must eliminate the lice. Here are simple instructions from your local ARcare medical clinic for the proper treatment to remove lice.

What are Lice?

Lice are six-legged parasites, only about 2-3 mm long. Lice live on human heads (infesting about 6-12 million per year in the United States). The tiny insects can be hard to detect. Female lice produce eggs, called “nits”. They glue the nits to human hair strands near the scalp, which makes them yet more difficult to find.

The Facts About Lice

Fortunately, lice have a short lifespan.

  • Lice become dehydrated and soon die when they are away from access to the human head, where their food (blood) and warmth they need for survival is located.
  • Lice cannot fly, jump, or hop. Therefore, contact between people is typically necessary for lice to spread from one head to another.
  • Lice are, however, quite strong in other ways. They can survive submerged in water for as long as six hours. This is why lice are not killed by showering or swimming.

Before Treatment, Check Everyone for Lice

Before beginning treatment of one family member for lice, check everyone in the household for the bugs. Then, treat everyone at the same time in order to help prevent passing the lice back and forth. Also, advise parents of your children’s friends and school-mates to check for lice, and offer treatment instructions.

To eliminate lice:

  • Wash all clothing and bedding used by a person with lice during the 48 hours before starting treatment. This will wash away lice that have fallen off of hair.
  • Washing stuffed toys or keeping these removed from the house may be recommended in extreme cases. Alternatively, place toys in a dryer briefly, for about 20 minutes to be completely sure.
  • Treat for live bugs instead of searching for suspected nits, because nits are so difficult to identify. Also, nits that are not near the scalp are likely to be relics, no longer viable anyway.

Repeat Lice Treatment from Your Local Medical Clinic

Some lice nits are resistant to treatment with over-the-counter medicated shampoos. You must treat all affected members of the household again, ten days after the completing the first round of treatments. The second treatment will kill lice that have hatched from any remaining nits before they become mature enough to lay eggs.
If you detect any lice after completing two treatments using over-the-counter lice shampoos you should see your family doctor at your ARcare local medical clinic, who will probably prescribe a stronger medication.

Family Medical Care in Arkansas

ARcare offers high quality family medical care in Arkansas that is affordable for everyone. Your ARcare primary care doctor provides life-long healthcare for the entire family, and access to a vast network of specialists for any medical needs. For more information about lice treatment, or to schedule an appointment to see a doctor, contact ARcare by calling (866) 550-4719.

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