Head lice in school-aged children are common in the United States, and all socio-economic groups are affected. A head louse is a tiny, wingless insect that can attach to a person’s hair. They do not fly or jump, and they do not spread disease. The eggs (nits) are seen more commonly than lice in children’s hair. Head lice are most commonly spread by head-to-head contact.
Treatment with an approved head lice product is necessary to get rid of nits/head lice from your child’s hair.
- Contact your physician or pharmacist for an FDA approved head lice product. Head lice shampoo may be purchased over-the-counter or by prescription.
- Follow the directions on the product label to ensure that the treatment works correctly.
- Remove as many nits as possible. Comb out the nits after treatment. Use a fine-tooth comb that comes with the head lice product.
- Some products recommend a second treatment in 7 to 10 days. Follow the product instructions carefully, and only repeat the second treatment as directed by the product or your physician.
- Launder clothing and all bed linens in hot water. Dry cleaning kills lice and their nits if clothing cannot be washed.
- You can also seal clothing, stuffed toys, pillows, blankets, non-washable items, or other small soft items for two weeks in a tightly closed plastic bag.(Remember to keep all plastic bags out of the reach of young children.)
- Vacuum or sweep carpets, upholstered furniture, and mattresses thoroughly.
- Do not use a pesticide spray for your home. It is not necessary and can be harmful to children.
- Soak combs and brushes in some of the lice shampoo for 1 hour; or in very hot water for 5-10 minutes.
Teach your child not to share combs, brushes, hats, ribbons, and other personal items with other children. Periodically, check your child’s hair for signs of head lice. Please be aware that hair length does not influence infestation; therefore, there is no need to cut the hair.
Your child should not miss one day of school due to nits or lice. We ask that your child return to school the following school day, after treatment. Nits/head lice are not considered to be a communicable disease, but if a chronic, untreated infestation persists, your child may be sent home from school until treated. The school nurse/health clerk may check your child after treatment in order to assist you in managing head lice.
If you have questions, and if we can be of assistance, feel free to contact your school nurse.