- Head lice crawl from child to child through head to head contact.
- Lice cannot hop, jump or fly.
- ANY child can get head lice.
- Lice can live up to 30 days on a person’s head and lay from 50 to 150 eggs. If the louse falls off a person, it dies within 2 days.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
· Lice are small brown, tan to grayish-white insects, about the size of a sesame seed.
· The nits or egg sacks are opaque, white oblong-shaped sacks which are firmly attached to the hair shaft. These nits cannot be brushed out. They can only be manually removed with a nit comb or pulled out by hand.
· Suspect lice if your child scratches and/or complains of an itchy head. Itching is the first sign of head lice.
· Check the hair and scalp very carefully especially behind the ears and near the neckline. The best method is to use a magnifying glass under a bright light.
HOW TO TREAT IF INFECTED:
- Wash your child’s hair with a product formulated to kill lice.
- Have your child sit under a bright light and remove all nits with a metal comb that is designed to remove nits. Remove remaining nits with your fingernails. Failure to do this important step always results in reoccurrence.
- Nits are not killed by lice shampoos, so it will be necessary to wash the hair with the lice product a second time in 7 to 10 days to kill any newly hatched lice.
- Launder all clothing and bedding. Laundry water should be at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the lice. Dry on highest heat setting.
- Vacuum all carpets, upholstery and mattresses in the house. Throw away the vacuum bag.
- Sealing clothing, stuffed toys, pillows, blankets or other small soft items, for two weeks in tightly closed plastic bags will kill both lice and nits. Dry cleaning will also kill lice.
- Soak combs, brushes and other washable items for one hour in one of the approved lice shampoos; or, soak them for 5 to 10 minutes in a pan of 130 degree hot water.
- Teach your whole family about how lice is spread and treated.
- Teach your children not to share combs, brushes, hats, hair accessories, jackets and other personal items with other children.
- Check your child frequently for signs of lice or nits.
School nurses assess reports of head lice. While mass screenings for head lice are not routinely performed, I may focus on certain areas of the school on occasion.