What to do?
Head lice are small wingless insects that live on the human scalp. They do not jump or fly but crawl very fast. An adult louse lays several nits or eggs which are very tiny and hard to see. Nits are attached to the hair with a glue like substance unlike dandruff which flakes away. Nits are mostly found on the nape of the neck and behind the ears. Nits hatch in 7-10 days causing a large head lice infestation. Each family member should have their heads checked and treatment should begin if nits or lice are found.
Over The Counter Lice Treatment
- Use over the counter lice treatment as directed. Ask a pharmacist questions if necessary.
- Use on dry hair, apply amount listed on product.
- Massage lice treatment thoroughly onto dry hair until hair is soaked completely.
- Leave lice treatment on hair as directed, rinse out.
- If you've tried over the counter lice treatments recently and feel it's not effective, try alternative methods:
- Apply mineral or olive oil to hair, leave on 30 minutes, wash out with Dawn dish soap. Apply white vinegar, leave on 30 minutes, rinse out. Continue to pull or combs nits out.
Combing/Pulling Out Nits
This is the most important step in getting rid of head lice. No lice treatment kills 100% of nits, so all nits must be removed to prevent them from hatching. If one nit is left, the head lice problem could continue. As you remove the nits, put them in alcohol.
- Good light is a necessity. Sunlight or fluorescent lights are best. Nits will be missed in regular light.
- Metal combs work better than plastic combs. Combing out nits is not the same as combing hair with a regular comb. You must divide hair into 4 sections, and take small tiny sections (1 inch wide) of hair and comb or pull nits. If combs do not work, you will need to pull the nits out with your fingernails.
Checking Hair Daily
Use bright light, section hair, and spend at least 2 hours daily searching for nits. Remember, if nits remain they may not be dead from the lice treatment. If nits hatch, the problem will start all over again. Continue to check hair for nits daily for at least a month. Notify your school nurse if you find additional nits or adult lice.
Retreatment In 7-10 Days if you see adults
- Retreat with lice treatment. Follow instructions. Continue to pull out nits.
- Wash all bed linens and pillows daily in hot water. Place in dryer. Vacuum mattress daily. Wash clothes worn, hats, and other washable items in hot water. Dry clean items if necessary.
- Vacuum carpet, cloth furniture, and seats of cars. Throw bag away.
- Place all stuffed animals or items with cloth in an airtight bag for 2 weeks.
Head Lice Prevention
Head lice are mainly spread by head to head contact. Head lice can spread indirectly by sharing clothes, bed linens, hats, and brushes with someone who has head lice.Education is the best prevention.Teach your child and others not to share hats, helmets, jackets, combs, and brushes.
Go to www.headlice.org for pictures of lice and nits.
Forsyth County School's Policy
Forsyth County has a no-nit policy which means your child must be free of lice and nits before returning to school. Only two (2) consecutive calendar days of absence will be considered excused for the current head lice problem. Any additional days missed with the current head lice problem will be marked unexcused.
Head lice will not go away without proper treatment. Please treat your child with over-the- counter medicated shampoo or home remedy treatment and comb or pull out all nits.
Upon returning to school, please accompany your child to the clinic. No student will be allowed to ride the bus until the head lice condition is resolved. Proof of treatment must be brought to the clinic. If nits remain in the hair, your child will need to go back home and the absence will be unexcused. Head checks will be completed over the next few weeks in the clinic. If an exam during this period reveals lice or nits, you will be notified to pick up your child and the absence will be unexcused because it will be considered a continuation of the original head lice condition.
A child with chronic head lice may be required to see a physician and return with a note stating the head lice has been treated and no nits remain. If nits or lice continue to be a problem, the school social worker will be contacted.
With your help we can greatly reduce the incidence of head lice in our schools. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or need strategies to help rid your home of lice.