Tips to Prevent Head Lice

Above: An example of innocent head-to-head contact between children. This innocent moment gives lice the chance to transfer to a new host.

When children play at school and have play dates and sleepovers, the number of cases of head lice rises. That’s because head lice, tiny parasitic insects that live on the scalp, are most commonly transferred through head-to-head contact.

What should parents know and do to prevent their child from getting head lice? Here are seven important tips:

  • Teach your child to avoid head-to-head contact. No sharing of brushes, combs, hats, hair accessories, scarves or towels.
  • Keep your child’s hair as close to the head as possible in either a ponytail, braid or bun. Using hairsprays or gels also makes it harder for lice to infest.
  • Spray your child’s hair daily with a natural lice repellent. Available in drug stores, natural food stores or online, these products are designed specifically to repel lice with scents such as rosemary, tea tree, mint and lavender.
  • Perform a weekly head check for lice and nits (eggs).
  • Each child should have their own helmet for sporting activities. Keep an extra helmet on hand for when friends come over to play.
  • Don’t assume that because your child is not scratching their head, that they do not have head lice — some children don’t feel them in their hair at all.
  • To stay ahead of a head lice infestation, do a “comb-out” once a week with a good metal nit comb.