Even the cleanest and wealthiest of families get head lice. Unfortunately, lice have been a nuisance for a very long time but if your child has them, it might seem that your world has turned upside down. There is no reason to panic. Here are some good websites:
WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR?
Head lice are gray, brown, or white and are so small they are difficult to see. Each female lays many eggs a day. The eggs are laid very close to the scalp on the hair shaft (usually within a fourth of an inch from the scalp). Eggs hatch within a week, the lice crawl on the hair and lay more eggs. Head lice feed by sucking blood. Itching and sores develop. Lice can fall on furniture or bedding. Other persons using these articles can be exposed to head lice. Head lice are usually passed person‑to‑person by using the same combs and brushes of infested persons.
HOW DO I FIND HEAD LICE?Part the hair in several places. Look especially in the regions behind the ears and near the neck. Lice move very fast and, therefore, are often difficult to see; however, nits (eggs) can be found. Nits are very small, brown to white, pinhead‑sized droplets on the hair near the scalp. If you pass your finger over the nit it does not slide off the hair easily. (Do not confuse nits with dandruff)NOW WHAT DO I DO?Inspect every family member for lice‑‑treating only one person may not get rid of the problem.
If lice or nits are found, call your doctor. There are several prescription and non‑prescription shampoos available such as NIX, KWELL, A‑200 PYRINATE, or RID. Treat all family members at the same time. The nits (eggs) must be removed by hand. The nits are easier to remove if a half‑and‑half solution of vinegar and water rinse is used on the hair after treatment.
HEAD LICE CHECK LIST:Identify lice.
Treat lice in all family members.
Treat combs and brushes.
Wash clothing and bed linens.
Notify your child's playmates.
Vacuum carpeting and furniture.
Recheck head in 8‑10 days and RETREAT if any evidence of lice.
A second treatment is recommended 8‑10 days after first treatment to kill newly hatched lice. The other alternative would be to remove all nits, but such attempts are often not 100% successful. Removing nits is difficult since they are securely cemented to hair shafts, and a few may be overlooked in thick hair. (Removal of nits is required for student to return to classroom in this school district.)
The timing of the second treatment is critical. The pediculicide shampoo should be applied 8‑10 days after the first treatment. Applying the second treatment sooner would probably be a waste of time and money. Waiting 8 days allows all remaining viable eggs to hatch, and these hatched crawling lice are generally more susceptible to the shampoo than are the eggs. However, none of the newly hatched lice will reach reproductive age before the second treatment, and therefore no new eggs will be deposited.
The above information is from recommendations provided by the Maricopa County Health Department and the Arizona Department of Health Services.
IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT ANY NEW CASE OF HEADLICE BE REPORTED TO THE SCHOOL NURSE SO THAT OTHER POSSIBLE EXPOSURES CAN BE CHECKED AND OTHER PARENTS ALERTED FOR ANY CONTINUED OUTBREAK. Be assured that the school nurse makes every effort to maintain confidentiality of known cases.
If you have any questions, you may call the school nurse or your family physician