No one likes discovering head lice on their child. It seems dirty and unhealthy, although the truth is, head lice is just itchy and does not spread disease.

You want to act quickly to remove the lice from your child’s head so the lice do not spread to anyone else. These insects can take up residence in your child’s scalp, infesting and irritating it. But lice can also affect adults and gather in other areas of the body, such as the groin or any place with hair.

Lice removal shampoos are your best option to remove the tiny parasites. According to the Cleveland Clinic, removing lice from your child’s scalp will ensure they die, because lice can’t survive more than 24 hours off of a human. That’s because they need to feed on human blood to survive.

Lice removal shampoos are medicated to treat the small insects. The treatment helps to paralyze and then kill the lice. So, do not panic if you see signs of lice. Here are a few tips for handling lice when you discover them on yourself or on a family member.

The Basics About Lice

There are many misconceptions about head lice. For example, many people believe they jump from head to head. They believe this is why young children often suffer from infestations, because they are gathered together in groups at school. But the truth is lice do not spread by jumping from head to head. Lice spread typically when an infected head touches another. This type of spread through contact occurs when children hug each other or come in close contact that involves their heads, such as at recess or at parties outside of school.

Another misperception is that lice is a sign of bad hygiene, and therefore poor parenting when found on a child. Lice do not seek dirty hosts. They just need a human scalp or body to thrive. They also do not jump off of family pets onto your child. Your child’s head lice are likely the result of contact with another child or person who has an infestation. Even if they do not touch their heads, the lice can spread by sharing a hairbrush or a hat.

Act Immediately to Stop Infestation

As soon as you learn about your child’s infestation, act quickly. This will ensure you contain the problem and stop further infestations.

First, isolate your child. Check other children and adults in your household. Contact their friends and classmates. Once you ensure that everyone else is either free of lice or notified, then begin acting to get rid of your child’s lice. Do not allow them to hug or come in contact with others until you use one of many lice removal shampoos to remove the insects.

You want to make sure you do not have reinfestations, so wash everything your child’s head has touched, including sheets, hats, and pillowcases. Again, lice cannot live more than 24 hours off a human body, so you are removing any eggs or possible insects that may infest your child again.

Wash Your Child’s Head With Lice Removal Shampoos

Once you decide which lice removal shampoo to purchase, make sure you read and follow the directions carefully. Do not use more than is recommended to take care of the infestation. Lice removal shampoos are intended for use outside of the body, so avoid getting them in the eyes, nose, mouth, or other areas. These shampoos can irritate internally, so rinse with water thoroughly if this occurs and do not use on eyebrows or eyelashes.

Apply the shampoo thoroughly and leave it on for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer. Then wash as instructed in the directions. You can also use a fine-toothed comb to remove the paralyzed and dying lice from the scalp. You may need to treat again within a week to remove any newly hatched lice that may surface later from eggs that might not be removed by lice removal shampoos.

Don’t panic if you learn your child has lice. It is a common condition that you can easily solve. Ensure you eliminate the sources of infestation and clean your child’s head. If the condition continues after two treatments with lice removal shampoos, discuss the problem with your doctor and a pharmacist to consider other options.