those pesky little critters that like to live on the scalp - LICE.
First of all, lice are not a sign of uncleanliness. They love clean
hair because it is easier for them to latch on to.
Lice DO NOT hop, jump, or fly; the only way they can get from one
person to another is direct touching or head-to-head.
Removing the nits (eggs) and live lice with a special metal-tooth
comb is time-consuming but the most effective way to get rid of them. They
do not wash out.
Head lice products are pesticides, which are toxic if overused and
can be absorbed through the skin. Follow the directions carefully.
Because of use and overuse of head lice shampoos, head lice have
become resistant to the products that once would kill them, so no head lice
product is 100% effective, even if you follow the directions exactly as
instructed. That is why combing and nit removal is important.
With live lice there is a rash on the back of the neck just below the
hair line. These are the bite marks they leave behind.
Head lice are not a source of infection or disease. They are simply
Schools are not the most common places where head lice are spread.
Sleep-overs among friends and relatives are thought to be a common way they
are passed from home to home.
School-wide head checks are not recommended or endorsed by the
Centers for Disease Control. The most
effective screening occurs
when parents check their children at home, treat if any are found, and make
efforts to remove the nits.
It is important to teach the children never to share combs or
barrettes, or ponytail holders. They should never share caps or hats or
furry collared coats.
Most lice shampoos instruct to use initially and then again in 7-10
days. It is very important to follow these instructions. One should not do the
second treatment before the seventh day or after the tenth day.
There are things to be done in the house to eliminate the lice from
All bed linen, pillows, blankets, throws, stuffed animals, and clothes
should be washed in hot water and dried in a dryer. Anything that can be
washed in hot water and dried in the dryer should be washed and dried.
Things that cannot be washed in washing machine such as pillows from
couch should be sealed in a garbage bag for 3-4 weeks to kill any that may
have gotten on them.
The floors need to be vacuumed.
Parents, please check your child's hair at least twice a week. I
will go a long way in keeping them out of the home and the school.
If one person in a family has head lice then it is always a good
thing to check everyone in that family and give lice treatment on their hair if
Sometimes it may seem difficult to distinguish between nit and
dandruff. If it is a nit then it will not fall off the hair shaft when the
hair is moved.
More tips to come later.
Lisa Lindsey, RN