Categorized | Child Health Issues, Health

Head Lice In Children

Head lice in children are very common. They are itchy, irritating, hard to get rid of and contagious.

Why do children get head lice?

Close contact or sharing personal items (e.g. comb or hat) with someone who has head lice is the most common cause of infestation. A louse cannot fly nor jump, but all it takes is head-to-head contact (e.g. children playing closely together or laying their heads on the same pillow) to spread lice from one person to another. Children are more susceptible to it than adults because their acid mantle (an acidic film on the skin’s surface which acts as a wall from bacteria and viruses that can infiltrate the skin) has not fully developed.

How To Know If Your Toddler Has Head Lice

Lice Eggs and Live Lice

Lice eggs look like small tan or yellow dots before they hatch while live lice look like gray or reddish brown sesame seeds with six legs often seen on the scalp, behind the ears, around the nape and the side of hair shafts. Lice can be easily detected by applying conditioner to dry hair, combing it and then wiping the conditioner off the comb on a tissue.

Head Scratching

Head scratching is caused by an itchy scalp (caused by the saliva of the lice). However, the itching may not start at once, especially if your toddler’s skin is not sensitive to the lice. But, he may feel “something” is tickling or moving around his head.


The irritation can range from mild to severe scratching. Excessive scratching can result to a bacterial virus, wherein the skin becomes red and crusty which can lead to the development of inflamed lymph glands in the toddler’s neck.

How To Treat Head Lice

Over-the-counter or Prescription Head Lice Products

This is the most common approach to treating head lice. Buy an OTC or prescription  lice-killing product. You can choose from cream rinse, gel, lotion or shampoo. Make sure to apply the product as directed to prevent the risk of causing harm. You may need to do 2 to 3 treatments to make sure all the eggs and live lice are dead.

Chemical Free Treatment

If you want to treat head lice naturally, buy a bottle of hair conditioner. Apply the conditioner to the hair, make sure you cover each hair from root to tip. Cover your toddler’s head with a shower cap. Leave the head covered for about 10 to 15 minutes to allow the head to steam. Take out the cover and untangle your toddler’s hair with a fine-toothed comb. Submerge the comb in a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. Continue combing his hair at least 5 times.

Lice Comb

Part your toddler’s hair in the middle. Clip one side. Take a small section of hair of the loose side and run through each section (starting at the scalp) up, down, right and left. Drag the comb to the tip of the hair. Dip the tip of the comb into a bowl of soapy water and wipe it dry with a towel after every swipe. Repeat the action until the comb comes out clean.

Wash Clothing and Bedding Regularly

It is also very important that you wash your toddler’s clothes, bedding and other personal items frequently to help get rid of lice. Make sure to clean them in hot water, rinse them twice and air dry them.

Before treating your toddler’s head lice, consult with your doctor first to ensure proper treatment will be given.

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