It’s back-to-school season and for many families, that means new morning routines, homework and head lice.
Each year, approximately 6 to 12 million children in the U.S. are infested with this common, six-legged critter that feeds on human blood. After weeks at summer camps, sleepovers and sharing of personal items, back-to-school season usually is the time when head lice infestation is noticed.
“Unfortunately, panic and worry are common reactions when parents discover head lice,” according to Adelaide Hebert, M.D., Houston, Texas.
“Out of concern and need to get rid of the infestation quickly, many parents may turn to unproven home remedies or homeopathic products,” added Dr. Hebert. “Unfortunately, these home remedies have never been studied, tested, or proven to be safe on children. There also has been resistance reported with some head lice treatment products, which may lead to ineffective treatment.”
Dr. Hebert offers parents five tips during head lice season:
<ol>Parents shouldn’t panic. In many cases, what parents see on the child’s head may not be head lice.
If parents or school nurse suspect head lice, a visit or call to the child’s doctor can confirm the diagnosis.
Parents should use only products that are recommended by a doctor to treat head lice.
It’s important for parents to carefully follow the doctor’s instructions to make sure the treatment was properly applied.
Because every school policy on head lice differs, it’s important for parents to talk with the school nurse. Healthcare professionals recommend that children remain in school since head lice do not transmit disease and are treatable.</ol>