Did Your Kid Get Head Lice? Don’t Panic – Here’s What to Do

Our Texas insect expert answers common questions about bugs.

By Laura RiceSeptember 26, 2016 9:45 am|

School has been in session for a few weeks now and that means a higher chance that everyone’s favorite class pet might visit soon: head lice. And while we all know not to share hats, headphones, or brushes – sometimes there’s no avoiding the little critters. Wizzie Brown, an insect specialist with the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Office, has some tips on how to handle these follicle-loving parasites.

What exactly are head lice? Does the mayonnaise home-remedy work? 

“Head lice are ectoparasites that live on humans – and these live on the head, of course – and they will lay eggs in the hair. They have these little claws that grasp onto the hair. And it’s a pretty common thing, not something to panic over. You don’t need to shave your kid’s head. The whole mayonnaise thing that a lot of people like doing – it just doesn’t really do anything, so don’t worry about doing that.”

What do I need to have? 

“Basically, when you’re dealing with head lice, an important thing is the nit comb. The nits are the eggs – prepare yourself for the long haul when you’re doing this on your child. Sit them down, put on a great show for them to watch, and get some plastic baggies, some Kleenex, your comb, and then you’re just going to systematically comb through their hair. And [you’re] going to need to do this at least once a day for several days until you’re not getting any more eggs.”

Do over-the-counter treatments or shampoos work? 

“For the [over-the-counter] treatments, make sure you read and follow the label instructions. It is a pesticide, so, don’t use it forever. It’s not a regular shampoo. The thing that people need to be aware of is there are head lice now becoming resistant to the treatments that we have for them. So, if that is not working for you and you are following the labelled instructions, you would probably need to go see your doctor because they have access to other products that we don’t have over the counter.”

Post by Allyson Michele.