One of the first things a parent can feel when faced with a head lice outbreak is the need to clean everything in sight! We worry that head lice or nits, lice eggs, could be anywhere that our children have been in contact with. The truth is, head lice will only live for 48 hours after they are separated from a host head. This means, if they do not hitch a ride on a new host within that time, they will not survive. Unfortunately, our children do come into close contact with many items on a daily basis we might not think to clean. Here’s a few you might want to double check:
#1 – Children’s Stuffed Animals
Children all over the world love to snuggle with their furry friends. In fact, one recent study relates that children who cuddle up with a favorite stuffed animal at night are less likely to experience anxiety. What could cause anxiety more than a bout of head lice? If your kid is feeling extra stress from having head lice, or maybe even losing sleep from symptoms of itching, feeling the crawling sensations on their scalp or just plain anxiety, they may be reaching for even more stuffed friends. It is essential that you gather all items in their room that could potentially be carrying head lice or nits and place them in a warm dryer for 25 minutes on a high heat setting.
#2 – Hoodies and Jackets
It’s easy to see how this could be overlooked. You are not thinking about items that head lice might have fallen down on or briefly touched your child’s head. However, hoodies or jackets are a concern and could have traces of head lice or nits. Make sure that if items are not washable you take proper steps to sanitize them and ensure they are free from head lice.
#3- Items from School Locker
Jr. High and Schools are being impacted by head lice more than ever. If your teen is showing symptoms of lice, make sure to clean out all the contents of their school locker. Even if you have lockers at home, a new mudroom concept that is very popular, take steps to sanitize and clean any items that could be carrying head lice.
#4 – Headphones from Smart Devices
Although head lice are most commonly passed from direct head to head contact, it is possible they can be transferred from items that are near to the scalp and head. Head lice are most commonly found near the crown of the scalp and hiding behind or near the ears. For this reason headphones could be a culprit for transferring and carrying head lice or nits. Especially if your teen or preteen is into sharing headphones with classmates or friends, make sure they are properly cleaned and not leaving traces of head lice.
#5 – Sports Equipment
If your kid is into sports it can seem like a stretch to have to wash and clean all of their sports equipment for head lice. We aren’t suggesting that cleats, hockey pucks or shin guards could be your problem. Instead, think of anything that comes into contact with the head, helmets, earpieces, shoulder padding, jerseys, etc. Even a gym bag where dirty clothes are thrown altogether after a grueling practice needs to be thoroughly cleaned. Make sure that especially headgear is not shared during the season and not thrown into piles near all the other player’s equipment as well during practices or games.