Adapted from the print edition, October 2012
If you have a child attending school, you will inevitably receive a lice outbreak update at some point during the school year. Head lice are spread through head-to-head contact or by sharing brushes, hats, etc., with someone who has lice. If your child is infected, you may spot white or greyish crawling forms (about the size of a sesame seed) and yellowish white eggs (nits) attached to the hair shafts close to the scalp (you may need to look very carefully for them).
There are a number of products on the market to help rid your child’s scalp of the critters, including some pesticide-free treatments (we’re fond of the Nyda line). Experts recommend that you follow the instructions for the product you choose to use—most will involve a second treatment seven to 10 days after the first application. In addition, machine-wash the bedding and any hats of the infected person using the hot-water cycle. Combs and brushes should be disinfected with rubbing alcohol or placed in boiling water.
For more information on head lice and prevention, check out these posts: