Some important information on head lice prevention
Head lice can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of having poor health habits or being dirty. The most important fact to remember is that the problem should be quickly treated because delays will only help spread the infestation throughout your family and community. Listed below are instructions for controlling a lice problem in your home. This posting does not mean we are having a serious outbreak, but it is being sent to help prevent an outbreak since lice are ever present in our schools. If your child is found to have lice, they will need to be checked by the school nurse before returning to their classroom.
SIGNS OF HEAD LICE:
Head lice are hard to see but signs to look for are:
- Frequent scratching the head or back of the neck.
- White specks in the hair. Look for whitish eggs that can be mistaken for dandruff. Dandruff is removed easily from hair or scalp; however, nits (eggs) are glued to the hair shaft and are very difficult to remove. Nits are found at approximately 1/4 of an inch from the scalp. Eggs and lice are more prevalent at the nape of the neck and behind the ears.
IF LICE ARE DISCOVERED:
- Several safe, non-prescription lice-killing shampoo products such as RiD or A-200 Pyrinate are available at any drug store. Follow the directions on the package carefully. Clear or Step Two may be used to remove nits from the hair.
- In addition to treating your child’s hair, you will need to comb out the remaining eggs in your child’s hair. This is done with the comb provided with the shampoo or can be purchased at your local drug store. If the nurse does not see a significant reduction in the number of eggs in your child’s hair, your child may be sent home to have a more complete combing out of the eggs.
- Repeat the treatment in 7-10 days to kill newly hatched eggs.
- Lice and their nits can survive (for a time) off the body. Even though your family may have been successfully treated, immediate re-infestation is possible or a fresh infestation of other family members may occur.
YOUR HOME AND CLOTHES:
- Clothes, towels and bed linens should be washed in hot water and detergent or dry cleaned.
- Because lice can live only a short time OFF the head, the U.S. Public Health Service recommends that limit cleaning of carpets, upholstered furniture, etc., to simple vacuuming. Using insecticides or fumigants on upholstered furniture, carpets, bedding, etc., is not necessary.
TO KEEP LICE FROM COMING BACK:
- Do not lend or borrow personal items such as combs, brushes, hats, clothing and towels.
- Disinfect combs, brushes, and similar items by washing with any lice-killing shampoo such as RID
- or A-200 Pyrinate (mentioned above).
- If one member of your family has head lice, you should inspect all family members every week for at least two weeks.