Head Lice

Head lice
Head-to-head contact with an infested  person is the most common way to get head lice. The most important fact to remember is that the problem should be quickly treated to avoid spreading to family members. 

Signs and Symptoms

Head lice may be difficult to see but signs to look for include:

  • Persistent scratching of the head or back of the neck.
  • Visible crawling lice on the scalp and/or hair.
  • White specks in the hair that may look like dandruff. Dandruff is easily removed but nits (eggs) are glued to the hair shaft and very difficult to remove.

If Infestation is Confirmed

Call or see your pharmacist or family doctor who will prescribe the most effective lice treatment for your child. Over-the-counter and prescription medications are available for treatment. The shampoo should be worked into a good lather on the hair and scalp. Be sure to cover all hair with lather. After treatment you may rinse thoroughly with water followed by  1) a solution of equal parts vinegar and water or  2) olive oil. The rinses will not kill lice, but help with the removal of nits from the hair shaft. Divide the hair into small sections and use a fine-toothed comb to remove all nits. Bedford  County  Public Schools has a “no live lice or viable nit policy” to attend school.  Please notify the school nurse when your child has head lice.

Treating the Environment

  1. Machine wash and dry clothing, coats, bed linens, and other items worn or used during 2 days before treatment using hot water (130 F) laundry cycle and high heat drying cycle. Clothing and stuffed animals that are not washable can be dry-cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.
  2. Vacuum thoroughly flooring, furniture, and automobiles. Head lice survives less than 1-2 days if they fall off a person.
  3. Fumigant sprays can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. Vacuuming is the best way to remove lice or fallen hairs with nits.
  4. Replace combs and brushes after treatment.

 Prevent Reinfestation

  1. Avoid head-to-head contact during play and other activities at home, school, and elsewhere (sports, playground, slumber parties, etc.)
  2. Do not share clothing such as hats, scarves, hair ribbons, or barrettes.
  3. Do not share combs, brushes, or towels.
  4. Do not lie on beds, couches, pillows, rugs, carpets, or stuffed animals that have been in recent contact with an infested person.
  5. If one member of your family has head lice, inspect all family members every other day for at least two weeks.
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