Treating head lice is a 3 step process
- Lice killing agent
- Nit removal
- Environmental clean up
Lice Killing Agent
There are no over-the-counter or prescription treatments that are totally safe and scientifically proven to be 100% effective against head lice and nits.
- Effective treatment requires at least two treatments 7-10 days apart to assure that both adult lice & eggs are killed by the treatment. Do NOT treat your child more often than the product recommends. Olive oil treatments must be used every 4 days for 3 weeks.
- Ask your pharmacist or physician what product they would recommend. Some products just target crawling lice while other products target BOTH the crawling lice and their eggs (nits).
- Follow the product instructions EXACTLY as written. Do NOT use a crème rinse or combination shampoo/conditioner before using the lice killing product.
- The best treatment for removing nits is by hand.
- Work in a well lit area. A magnifying glass will help.
- Separate the hair in sections & fasten off the hair that is not being worked on.
- Go through each section from the scalp to the end of the hair. Nits are usually found closer to the scalp.
- Use your fingers to pull off the nits. Some use nail clippers & remove individual hairs with attached nits.
- Move onto the next section until the entire scalp and ALL hair has been checked.
- Screen the infected person DAILY for 14 days and regularly after that. Daily screening is VITAL to halt the cycle of head lice! It allows for detection of anything that may have been missed and for identifying a new infestation as early as possible.
Environmental Clean Up
- Check all family members for lice.
- Wash clothing & bedding of infected person (including coats, scarves, athletic headgear, dirty clothes, towels, backpacks) in HOT water and HOT dryer. A HOT dryer for at least 20 minutes is most important!
- Pillows & stuffed toys can be put in HOT dryer for 20 minutes.
- Any items that cannot be dried, should be placed in airtight plastic bags for 14 days.
- Soak hair items (combs, brushes, barrettes) in rubbing alcohol or HOT water for 1 hour.
- Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum...your floors, rugs, mattresses, couches, car seats. When done, immediately remove vacuum bag & tie it in plastic bag & take it outside your home. Do not use fumigant sprays; they may be toxic if used inappropriately.
- Once you have thoroughly cleaned your environment, focus your time and energy on the infected child's head.
After killing the lice and removing all the nits, your child must be cleared by the nurse to return to school or ride the bus.
Pioneer Regional School Corporation has a No Nit Policy. This means ALL the lice eggs/nits must be removed from your child's hair.
The No Nit Policy encourages parents to do their part at home with routine screening, early detection, accurate identification, and thorough removal of lice and nits. It is fair to expect that uninfected children will be safeguarded while infected children will be cared for with sensitivity.
Basic Facts on Head Lice
Three forms of head lice:
- The egg or nit
- The nymph
- The adult louse
They are small, hard to see & about the size of a knot in thread. Nits are laid by the adult female at a rate of 5-7 per day. They are glued/firmly attached to the hair shaft within about 1/4" of the scalp. These nits hatch in 8-9 days.
The nit hatches into a baby louse called a nymph. It looks like an adult louse only much smaller. To live, the nymph must feed on blood. They will become adults 9-12 days after hatching.
The adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, has six legs, and is tan to greyish-white. Each adult female will lay 5-7 nits/eggs per day. Adult lice can live up to 30 days on a person's head. If a louse falls off a person, it dies within 1-2 days.
Where Are They Found?
Head lice are most commonly found on the scalp, behind the ears, at the crown, and near the neckline at the back of the neck.
How Did My Child Get Head Lice?
Direct head-to-head contact with an already infected person is the most common way to get head lice. Children, especially those of elementary age, are most likely to get head lice because of their close contact with each other during play, sports activities, slumber parties, or camps. Less likely is sharing clothing, hats, hair ribbons or lying on a carpet that has recently been in contact with an infested person.
Homes or schools do not get head lice - people do. There is no way to know where a child got head lice. By the time an infestation is found, the child is likely to have had it for awhile. Head lice have been found on people of all socio-economic levels. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.
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