When kids get lice, many parents panic, feel ashamed, or can't shake a feeling of being "dirty." Once they learn about super lice, the relentless outbreaks of head lice all over the U.S. and all of the new treatments available, no parent should feel alone, ashamed, or outgunned.
If lice haven't hit your home, or they have in the past but not this year (yet), plan ahead and create a head lice survival kit. Instead of freaking out, you will have a go-to source of items that will give you something to do.
Here's what you need:
Nit removers and treatment
Head lice today aren't killed by the treatments your parents used. Overuse of certain lice-killing agents in the past has encouraged the lice to develop mutant super powers. They are now able to overcome the deadly effects of the creams, shampoos, and lotions once used to combat lice infestations.
The good news is that researchers are constantly developing new treatments. You can also take your kids to professional delousing salons that use herbal and natural treatments to remove head lice.
Your kit should have a few bottles or tubes of effective treatments as advised by your child's pediatrician or lice removal professional. One treatment per person in the household is enough to get you started. Your kit must also include a fine-toothed nit comb for inspecting the hair and removing any stubborn lice eggs. If you prefer to have a salon remove the lice, pre-order gift certificates for yourself and family members so you know you can afford the trip when you truly need it.
Clean bagged necessities
Storing clean, washed clothing and bedding in plastic bags keeps these items bug-free. For your emergency lice kit you should have a set of clean clothes and a set of pajamas for each person. Little kids can wear large T-shirts as PJs if you don't have enough to pack away. This gives you instantly clean sleepwear for your kids after delousing treatments, and a lice-free set of clothes for school the next day.
Each person should also be supplied with a bedding stack which includes a clean towel, pillow, set of sheets and blanket. While this sounds like a lot of stuff to pack away, each person's spare clothes and bedding stack should take up no more room than a large pillowcase will handle.
A solid safe room policy
Have a plan for a "safe room" to cover the household when all of the kids end up with lice. This room is ideally an unused guest room, but any room that is easy to clean is fine. Have games, TV, or some sort of entertainment to keep kids occupied.
Plain furniture and furniture covers in the safe room protect kids who have just been treated, while other kids are getting cleaned up, too. Kids don't go back into their own rooms and put on hats or other items that carry lice.
While it's true that lice must have human hair to survive in your home, they are spread through hats, sweaters, and even selfie posing. While everyone's in the safe room, do a sweep of the house to find all of the hats, combs, and other hair-related stuff. Wash these items as recommended by your doctor or lice-removal specialist.
It may seem like overkill to prepare so thoroughly for a lice infestation, but the sooner your family's basic needs are met, the sooner you're able to tackle any problem areas in your home. Lice happen to people all over town, from swanky penthouses to crowded public housing. They're as inevitable as storms and bad hair days.
Get prepared in advance so you're always ready to fend off infestations. Use your own strategies and tools to stock your kit, and you'll feel the thrill of victory over those teeny, itchy invaders.