According to the CDC, 6 to 12 million children get infested with lice each year. Most get it from other kids at school and on the playground. And, unfortunately, many parents treat their child only to find more bugs after a few weeks. The reason why kids can get subsequent infestations often comes down to one of two things. Either you didn't successfully eradicate the lice to begin with or your child went to school and caught it again. So what are you to do? While it may seem like you're fighting a losing battle, there are several steps that you should take after treating your child for lice to avoid subsequent infections.
Most treatments kill all live lice. However, many don't kill the eggs or nits. Nits aren't easy to remove from the hair either. They don't fall out. They look like small sesame seeds attached to the hair, and it takes some force to pull them away from the hair. If you don't remove all of the nits, they will hatch and cause another infestation. Make sure you remove all nits. Go through thin sections of hair at a time and look for nits with a magnifying glass. Remove each one you see. Repeat this process for several days after you don't see any more.
If one child has lice, they all might have it. Be sure to check everyone in your family for signs of lice for a few weeks after the infestation. If anyone does have lice, treat them accordingly. If one of your children shares a bedroom with the child that has lice or if they often share pillows or sit on the couch together, treat them even if you don't see lice.
Lice don't like to be off of humans. Nits also need warmth to hatch, so they're not much concern after they fall off the host. However, there is a small window, 24 hours, after treatment that live lice can be in your home on objects, such as pillows, furniture, clothing, etc. Be sure to clean your house thoroughly.
Lice prevention shampoos really do work. If your child has had lice, use lice prevention shampoo before sending them back to school.
After an infestation, be sure to keep checking your child regularly for any signs of a new infestation. If you do see the bugs or new nits, you have to go through the whole process all over again.