Best Practices for Lice Checks
Make it part of your routine
Most families find the hardest thing about lice checks is to set down to do them at all. The best thing for it is to make a weekly routine of performing a cursory examination of your kids’ heads, regardless of the time of year. As long as kids are visiting with friends and family, head lice are making their way from one head to the next. So just in case: once a week, sneak a peek!
Make it more enjoyable
Make the checking process more enjoyable by watching a movie and relaxing while gently and methodically parting through the hair. This is called a dry check and is best for monitoring your family’s heads just in case. For the most effortless check, use a headlamp! Focus your attention on the most common areas lice linger: the temples, behind the ears, the nape of the neck, and across the crown of the head.
Head lice rely on our body heat to incubate their eggs, so the “hotspots” tend to be where circulation is best (around the temples and behind the ears). They also prefer areas where the thickest tresses of hair will lay down and trap head against the scalp (the crown of the head and nape of the neck). If you notice that your kid’s head feels unusually warm in any other spots, take some time to check there as well.
Protect yourself while checking
Although it’s best to make this routine enjoyable for everyone so it can be successfully implemented week after week, try not to get too relaxed with your hair in the process. It’s best to wear it up to prevent any cross-contamination. This is especially important if you suspect a recent exposure.
If you believe someone in your family likely has lice…
Your best chance of finding it early is to use a lice comb and perform a wet check. You can prepare for this scenario by buying a quality lice comb online. Most of the in-store kits contain lice combs, but they’re typically poorly made, difficult to use, and won’t stand up to washing in hot water. Many of them even have gaps so large between the teeth that nits (lice eggs) and even fully grown bugs can pass through easily. Invest in a well-made, metal lice comb and you’ll have everything you need to be 100% certain your family is lice-free when the lice warning letter comes home!
Read more: The best tools for lice checking
Healthline: How to kill head lice