(Head Lice)

    A small gray insect about the size of a pin head found on the hair called a “louse”.  The louse will not survive more than 2-3 days away from human contact. (The picture below is lice on the left and dandruff on the right)

    Lice vs. Dandruff


     Lice occurs worldwide.  It is common among school-aged children and their close contacts.  It is not related to cleanliness.  Routine hair care will not prevent or cure the problem. 




    It is spread by close contact with an infested person or by contact with their personal belongings, such as combs, brushes, hats, bed linens, or towels.  Lice do not hop, jump or fly.



     Patients usually become aware of the problem by finding lice or eggs (nits) in their hair.  The female louse attaches her egg to the hair near the scalp.  The louse hatches and leaves the nits.  Many nits may resemble dandruff (but is not easily removed).  Itching of the scalp is very common, but with light infections children may not complain.  Irritation of the skin at the hairline and ears may be present due to scratching. 



     Apply treatment of choice (when using Nix, do not use any shampoo that contains additives such as a cream rinse) follow package directions.  Do not reapply until directed to do so according to package instructions (MORE IS NOT BETTER), excessive use may be harmful.  Using a rinse of 50/50 vinegar and water has reportedly helped with nit removal. **DO NOT SHAVE OR CUT CHILD’S HAIR, IT IS NOT NECESSARY**.


    Control Measures:

     All household members should be examined at the same time as the child.

    1. Close contacts should be treated if they are infested.
    2. Lice and nits may be destroyed by the following:
    3. Dry cleaning.
    4. Drying clothes at least 20 minutes in the dryer.
    5. Machine washing with hot water and detergent (especially, bed linens, and towels of infested person).
    1. Thoroughly washing combs, brushes and personal articles in hot water for 20minutes.
    1. Items that cannot be washed should be placed in an air-tight container (plastic trash bag) for two weeks.
    2. Combing hair will not remove all nits. It will be necessary to pick the nits with your fingernails.
    3. Encourage children and others not to use personal articles belonging to someone else.
    4. Vacuuming is just as effective as expensive sprays. Discard vacuum bag after use.
    5. Children may return to school after treatment and removal of all nits. The child must be cleared by school personnel before they may ride the bus or return to their classroom.
    1. Remember to vacuum car and wash backpacks.


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