Don’t let lice make your head their home. Head lice like to hide on certain areas of the human head where they can lay their eggs without being discovered easily. Head lice are often first diagnosed by locating their nits (lice eggs). It is important not to confuse nits with dandruff. Anyone can get LICE; it is not a matter of cleanliness.
School age children who attend sleep-over’s, camps and day care should be checked periodically for Lice. Please check your child weekly during the wintertime months. Lice are not predatory but may crawl from one head to another for instance during a naptime event.
Areas of the head that lice tend to prefer:
- Behind the ears
- Near the neckline at the back of the head
What does it feel like when lice make your head their home?
- A tickling feeling like something is crawling in your hair.
- Regular to constant itching due to allergic reaction to the bites.
- Feeling irritable.
- Sores on the scalp caused by scratching.
How to Treat Head Lice
- Remove all of the infested person’s clothing from the waist up. Pin hair into sections using hair clips and use a fine tooth nit comb to remove all lice and nits from the hair. A vinegar/water solution (1 cup vinegar and 1 cup water), used to dampen the hair, may help loosen the nits.
- Treat hair with an over-the-counter lice treatment like NIX or RID. Non-pesticide treatments are available-ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
- It is very important to apply the lice treatment according to label instructions.
- Do not use a cream rinse, conditioner or combination shampoo/conditioner before using lice medicine and for at least 2 days following treatment.
- Completely change the infested person into clean clothing after treatment.
- Re-check after 8-12 hours. If slow-moving lice are found, the treatment is working. If no dead lice are found and the lice are as active as before, the treatment may not be working. See your doctor for a different treatment and follow their instructions closely.
- After first treatment, comb out the hair, check for and remove any remaining nits and/or lice. Repeat combing and removing lice and nits every day for 12-14 days.
- Mark a calendar to show the date of first treatment. Chart progress of lice removal on calendar daily for 12-14 days. If you find live lice or nits on day 7, retreat with lice medication.
- Continue to check all treated persons for 2 to 3 weeks until you are sure all lice and nits are gone!
Clearing the Environment of Lice
- Treatment of the home with an insecticide is not required or recommended.
- To kill lice and nits, it is important to wash all clothing and bedding used by the infested person during the 2 days before the head lice or nits were discovered. Use the hot water cycle on the washing machine and dry the clothing on the hot cycle for at least 20 minutes.
- Soak all combs and brushes in very hot water or rubbing alcohol for one hour OR wash in the dishwasher.
- Vacuum car seats, carpet, and furniture that have been exposed to the infested person, paying close attention to automobile headrests.
- Store pillows, stuffed animals, comforters and any other items that cannot be washed, in a sealed plastic bag for 2 weeks.
- It is important to remember that while it is necessary to clean the environment of the person who has lice, it is more important to remove all lice and nits from their head.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES & INFORMATION
Interesting facts about head lice and nits:
- Head lice need human blood to live.
- Head lice are insects that crawl. Head lice can’t jump, fly, or hop!
- Head lice can only live 1-2 days off the human head
- It takes 7-10 days for a nit to hatch
- Nits are small, yellowish or grayish-white, oval-shaped and are “glued” at an angle to the hair shaft.
- Nits are always the same shape and size. They are not irregular or fuzzy!
Resources for information on head lice:
- National Pediculosis Association - www.headlice.org
- en Español: La Asociación Nacional de Pediculosis - www.headlice.org/spanish/index.html
Please contact School Health Services at 241-3500 or your campus nurse if you need assistance or confidential support in dealing with lice issues.