No matter how careful you are, sooner or later your child is bound to come home with head lice. Similarly, very few people get away with having a pet without the occasional fleabite, so it can often feel like you’re resigned to your fate. However, although head lice and fleas are irritating, if you attack the problem quickly, it can be easily managed.
Head lice are relatively harmless because they don’t spread infection or disease, but they can make your head intolerably itchy, so it’s important to stop them in their tracks before they multiply. Similarly, if you’ve ever had a fleabite, you’ll know how painful they can be. Here are some tips for keeping itchy pests out of your home.
How to Prevent Head Lice
Unfortunately, if your child attends school or daycare, there’s not much you can do to prevent head lice, other than encouraging your child not to share brushes, combs or hats with their friends. Head lice spread through head-to-head contact, as unlike fleas, they cannot jump or hop.
The best you can do is attack the head lice with an over the counter treatment and a fine-toothed comb and make sure you get rid of the eggs so they cannot hatch and multiply. Adult lice cannot survive away from the scalp for more than a day, so unlike fleas, they cannot live in your home without a human host. Therefore, it’s not necessary to deep clean your house or car.
You Can’t Wash Them Away
Head lice can survive submerged in water for up to 20 minutes, so washing your child’s hair every day won’t get rid of them. Head lice like clean hair as much as they like dirty hair, so having head lice is not a sign of poor hygiene, and no amount of shampoo will make a difference. Instead, use a CDC approved treatment, and check your child’s head every day for new lice.
How to Get Rid of Fleas
Of course, cats and dogs can’t get head lice, but they can get fleas, which are worse in most cases. Unlike head lice, however, fleas can take residence in your carpets, rugs and upholstery for weeks, making them even trickier to eliminate.
Even people without pets can find fleas in their home. Fleas can be passed from person to person on the subway, in the supermarket, or anywhere else where you’re in close contact with someone who has one on their clothing. Once they’re in your home, they’re notoriously difficult to rid of, which is why it’s essential to use the right treatment.
To get rid of fleas, ticks and chewing lice, use Pet Action, a vet-recommended treatment that lasts for up to six months. Don’t forget, as well as treating your pet, it’s also important to treat your home with a flea spray that will kill any remaining eggs.
Just be careful to use a spray that is safe for children and pets, like a non-toxic herbal treatment. If the problem persists, you may need to call in pest control for further advice.