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Your Baby & Toddler - - Your Toddler -

clean as pos­si­ble.

Avoid head-to-head play as much as pos­si­ble and keep long hair tied up in a pony­tail or pretty braid.

Use a good lice re­pel­lent spray. Some par­ents swear by a few drops of tea tree oil mixed into sham­poo. And there are also a num­ber of prod­ucts avail­able from your lo­cal phar­macy that can help. As al­ways, check with your fam­ily doc­tor for the best so­lu­tion for your child.

THINGS THAT WON’T FIX YOUR LICE PROB­LEM

Don’t pay heed to du­bi­ous and po­ten­tially harm­ful prac­tices rec­om­mended by friends and fam­ily (or the dreaded Dr Google), some of which claim to be treat­ments. There are many myths that abound, some of which have proven to be fa­tal to the chil­dren th­ese “treat­ments” have been used on. Rather get ad­vice from your doc­tor or phar­macy if you are un­sure if what you’ve been told is a treat­ment op­tion or myth. Here’s what you should NEVER do:

Cov­er­ing your child’s head with may­on­naise or olive oil will not kill lice. Wash­ing your child’s hair with olive oil can help with con­di­tion­ing, but it won’t get rid of lice.

Wash­ing your child’s hair with petrol or dis­in­fec­tant fluid will not solve a lice prob­lem. This is highly dan­ger­ous and can have fa­tal or very harm­ful ef­fects – don’t do it, ever!

Spray­ing your child’s head with an in­sect re­pel­lent aerosol spray is never a so­lu­tion to a lice prob­lem. This is also highly dan­ger­ous, be­cause in­hal­ing sprays like this can be very harm­ful.

HOW YOU CAN’T GET LICE

There are also many myths around how lice are spread. Re­mem­ber that:

A lice in­fes­ta­tion has noth­ing to do with per­sonal hy­giene. Whether or not your child has head lice does not de­pend on how of­ten you wash their hair.

Head lice can­not be trans­ferred from pets to chil­dren, or from chil­dren to pets. They are spe­cific to hu­mans.

Check­ing for lice on a reg­u­lar ba­sis is im­por­tant, es­pe­cially if your child’s school has let you know that there’s been an out­break.

HOW TO TREAT HEAD LICE

If your child does have a lice in­fes­ta­tion, act­ing quickly is im­por­tant. Call your doc­tor or visit your near­est phar­macy for ad­vice and pick up a treat­ment prod­uct that’ll work well for your child. You’ll also need a nit comb, and a whole bunch of pa­tience. Once you’ve fol­lowed the in­struc­tions for the prod­uct you’re us­ing, you’ll need to use the nit comb to pull out ev­ery sin­gle louse and en­sure your child’s head is clear of nits (the eggs) too. Make sure you do this un­der good light­ing, as each louse or nit can be in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult to spot. Most man­u­fac­tur­ers rec­om­mend you re­peat the treat­ment af­ter seven days, to cover the en­tire lice life cy­cle and en­sure the all-clear. YB

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