Head lice are tiny parasites that survive by sucking small amounts of blood from the scalp. These lice spread through head-to-head contact and can infest a newborn baby if a person/s in the surrounding vicinity has head lice. Newborn babies should not be treated with medicated lice preparations, as they contain harmful pesticides. Instead, head lice in newborn babies should be eradicated using the wet combing method.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Fine-toothed comb or nit comb
- Baby conditioner
- Soft towel
- Bowl of water
- Hot water
Wash the newborn's hair with a mild baby conditioner and pat dry with a soft towel. Wet hair temporarily numbs the lice and prevents them from moving; the conditioner enables the comb to easily glide through the hair.
Place a bowl of water within reach of the area where you plan to work the wet comb into your newborn's hair.
Part the newborn's hair into several sections with a fine-toothed comb or a nit comb. Comb each section of the hair, starting from the scalp and drawing the comb down through the ends of the hair strands. Using this technique, you will also catch nits, or lice eggs, with the comb, as nits are laid and hatch quite close to the scalp.
If you notice lice on the comb, after combing through each section of hair, immerse the comb in the bowl of water and flick the lice out of the comb into the water using your fingers. Also remove with your fingers any lice that you notice on your baby's hair strands and place them in the water bowl.
Discard the water from the bowl and wash the bowl and comb in hot water. Replace and wash the clothes that both you and your newborn were wearing during the wet comb procedure with another set of clothing.
Repeat the wet combing procedure every three to four days, for a period of two weeks, until all the head lice have been extricated by the wet comb process.
Tips and warnings
- Take precautionary measures to keep lice out of your home by regularly vacuuming furniture and upholstery.
- Family members of the newborn should also be treated for lice infestation, in order to prevent the head lice from recurring in the newborn.
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