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Regina Leonard Regina Leonard
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Head Lice 101

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Schools are about to finish for the summer, but that doesn't mean you are free from the risk of lice. It is a topic none of us really ever want to talk about, but if you have children you should be aware of this very common and persistent problem.

Recently I have been made aware of many reported cases of lice in the Bangor and Ellsworth area. Head lice is out there, but if taken care of promptly and properly will go away as fast as it came.

Starting today, it is important to check your kids' heads at least once a week. Don't count on the schools to do it. The nape of the neck and behind the ears are places to check first. You can use a pencil or comb to check if you want to, but this isn't going to prevent cross-contamination. If you have kids, invest in a lice comb. If you think your child may have lice, you can use this comb to be sure. I can tell you right now, if they have lice you will know it! The lice themselves are reddish-brown in color and the nits are white and lie on the hair shaft itself. The comb will pull them out and you will see for sure.

If you or your children have lice, I strongly recommend not using RIT or any other over-the-counter treatments. Lice have become immune to these products and there are other options that are safer and more effective. If you find lice at home, grab the olive oil, soak the hair in it and follow with a plastic bag wrapped around it. Let the kids sleep with the oil in their hair overnight - it will suffocate the head lice. Check with your salon for other specific product lines aimed at dealing with lice.

Rest assured that if you have lice you are not dirty and should not feel ashamed. Call your hairstylist right away for advice but please, don't bring your children into the salon to be checked without asking first. You should keep them at home until the lice is cleared up. Just like being ill in public spreads the illness, so does going in public with lice. Educate your kids to keep their hats, gloves and jackets to themselves. Don't try on hats in stores, and when out and about with the family, don't hang your coats on coat racks with others. Keep them with you and away from all the rest. I also recommendHeadlice.orgfor further information and resources regarding head lice and everything you need to know to treat it and prevent it.

I welcome questions and comments!

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