Y1oto 3uyearrs tod­dler let’s talk about lice

All you need to know about get­ting rid of th­ese lit­tle bug­gers

Your Baby & Toddler - - Your 1 to 3 Years Toddler - By Burgie ire­land

It’s not a topic that any­one is re­ally com­fort­able with, but the fact re­mains that lice hap­pen. They’re just one of those in­con­ve­niences that come with child­hood ter­ri­tory, and if your child gets them, rest as­sured that you won’t get a par­ent­ing de­merit. A lice in­fes­ta­tion is not a sign of un­clean­li­ness or ne­glect, de­spite their icky fac­tor.

Recog­nis­ing lice

Lice are eas­ily missed be­cause their tiny eggs (or nits) can be mis­taken for dan­druff flakes. Nits are laid by the adult fe­male on the hair shaft close to the skull – usu­ally be­hind the ears and nape of the neck, pos­si­bly be­cause the skin here is softer. The nymph (or lice hatch­ling) emerges eight to ten days later and feeds on blood from the skull. This is when the child be­gins to itch and scratch – es­pe­cially at night be­cause th­ese lit­tle par­a­sites pre­fer the dark. The nymphs are very small and trans­par­ent so they’re cam­ou­flaged by the hair. Af­ter nine to 12 days they’re about the size and shape of a sesame seed, and grey­ish-white in colour.

How your child got lice

Prob­a­bly the only good thing about lice is they can’t jump like fleas! They’re not spread by pets and they don’t spread dis­ease. They’re yucky be­cause if you leave them, lice will make a nest in the hair, so their fam­ily will quickly ex­pand and feed from their host. Lice rapidly spread through a crèche or nurs­ery school be­cause chil­dren play closely to­gether, they share hats and sleep on mat­tresses where lice fall off, then quickly find an­other host. Lice can spread on brushes and combs, tow­els and car­pets, bed linen and fluffy toys.

How to get Rid of them

Get­ting rid of lice takes pa­tience and per­sis­tence. To guar­an­tee the suc­cess­ful elim­i­na­tion of th­ese nas­ties, full treat­ment with daily checks for nits must be re­peated at least three times over a two week pe­riod. And don’t for­get to do ran­dom lice check­ing through­out the school hol­i­days.

All par­ents should be no­ti­fied when there is a lice out­break at a preschool or crèche. All chil­dren should also be checked and treated when nec­es­sary,

Once the nits have been re­moved, smear Vase­line, baby oil or tea tree oil into the hair for a few hours (even overnight) to smother the live par­a­sites and make the hair slip­pery. Then wash your child’s hair with a spe­cial lice sham­poo avail­able from your phar­macy.

Be sure to wash all bed linen, air mat­tresses, pil­lows and du­vets on a hot cy­cle. Don’t for­get to wash your child’s favourite toy too – but be pre­pared for dis­grun­tled looks when teddy doesn’t smell like teddy any­more! Ba­si­cally, you want to clean ev­ery­thing that may have come into con­tact with your child’s head, even in­ad­ver­tently. YB

What not to do

Don’t ig­nore lit­tle white flakes on your tod­dler’s head. If you can brush them out, they’re dan­druff. If not, they’re nits. Only use rec­om­mended prod­ucts for treat­ing lice – NEVER spray in­sec­ti­cide (like Doom or Mortein) onto your child’s head! Th­ese are highly poi­sonous and chil­dren’s scalps are very ab­sorbent.

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