|SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
HEALTH AND MEDICAL SERVICES
OFFICE OF FAMILY HEALTH
|SECTION: SCHOOL HEALTH|
TOPIC: SCHOOL SCREENING
SUBJECT: HEAD LICE
Lice infestations are not a major health threat but they are highly communicable and create embarrassment and sometimes panic in parents, families and communities.
Information on the prevention, identification and treatment of head lice can be found on the department’s website. This web site is a valuable tool in helping to educate and lessen the stigma associated with head lice infestations.
IMPLICATIONS IN SCHOOL
ANTICIPATORY GUIDANCE FOR THE HOME
Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Children, Youth, and Families Health Services Manual, July 1995.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health, The Comprehensive School Health Manual, January 1995.
Whaley & Wong, Nursing Care of Infants and Children, 1999.
South Dakota Department of Health, Pediculosis Fact Sheet
Lice Aren’t Nice Community Coalition, Snohonush Health District, Everett, Washington.
Instructions for the Treatment of Head Lice
Pesticide Treatment Products (Rid®, Clear®, R&C®, Nix® and Lindane)
Gather supplies: shampoo, lice shampoo (lice shampoo), three towels, nit comb (usually provided with lice shampoo), and timer. You will need one entire bottle of lice shampoo for each person being treated for head lice.
Read all instructions included with the lice shampoo. Shake the bottle well.
Remove individual’s clothing and place directly in the washing machine or a sealed bag until the clothing can be washed. Wash items using very hot water or dry items in the dryer using high heat for 30 minutes. The heat will help kill the lice and nits.
Wash the child’s hair with shampoo that is water-based clarifying shampoo. Examples are:
Johnson® Baby Shampoo
Neutrogena® Anti-Residue Shampoo
Salon Selectives®, Level 7® Shampoo
Prell© for Normal or Oily Hair Shampoo
This prepares the hair for the lice shampoo. Use of your regular shampoo and/or conditioner may coat the hair and interfere with the treatment. Note: If you will be using Nix, do not use hair conditioner or any other substance that might block the residual action of the pesticide after treatment. If you want to use vinegar or products such as Clear and Step 2 to help with nit removal, apply and comb out the nits before you shampoo your child’s hair.
Towel dry hair. The hair should be as dry as possible from towel drying, without being completely dry. If the hair is too wet, it will dilute the lice shampoo.
Cover your child’s eyes with a towel. Ask the child to tightly close their eyes.
Shampoo hair in the sink. Do not treat your child during or right after taking a bath or a shower. The heat opens the pores of the skin and may allow the pesticide to penetrate and enter the bloodstream more easily.
Apply the lice treatment undiluted to the hair. Do not pour all at once into your hand or onto the hair. The method for applying lice shampoo is the same method you would use if you were checking for head lice. Section the hair, pin back, and make a part. Pour the lice shampoo down the part like a stream of toothpaste on a toothbrush. Rub the lice shampoo gently across the scalp, along the length of the part so it completely coats the scalp, roots, and lower inch or two of each strand of hair. Then make another part about ¼ inch away, directly across from the first part, and again apply the lice shampoo. Continue across the scalp making rows and applying the lice shampoo until the entire head has been covered. Go over the head again to treat all of the remaining hair. If you have any left, finish the bottle on the same child. If you run out, use another bottle. Use as much as needed to saturate the child’s hair.
Set your timer or alarm clock for the amount of time stated in the instructions for that particular pesticide, such as Rid®, Clear®, R&C® or Nix® for example. While you are waiting you can do some of the following important tasks:
Rinse out the lice shampoo when the time is up. Note: If using Nix, do not shampoo the head for at least 24 hours after treatment.
Towel-dry the hair with a clean, dry towel. Do not use the one that was used to dry the hair before the treatment. Comb hair to de-tangle before using the fine-tooth nit comb. If you are using Nix, do not us a de-tangling lotion or spray.
Comb hair with a nit comb to remove dead lice and nits. Because no lice treatment kills all of the nits, it is important to remove each and every nit to prevent them from hatching and re-infesting the child or family again. Be patient, this step could take an hour to do a complete job.
After picking all the lice and nits you can see, rinse the hair with water to wash out any loose nits.
Check hair again for nits or lice. Do the best you can to manually remove all lice and nits. Continue to check and pick nits two times per day for the next two weeks. This is the most effective way to prevent re-infestation. Use only baby shampoo or a regular shampoo without conditioner for 2 weeks after the lice treatment. Do not use hair coloring, mousse, gel or hair spray for at least 2 weeks after the lice treatment.
Cleaning Household Items to Get Rid of Lice
Things to wash in a washing machine:
Wash items using very hot water or dry items in the dryer using high heat for 30 minutes. The heat will help kill the lice and nits.
Things to sanitize:
To sanitize these items, soak the item in ¼ cup bleach to 1-quart cold water for one hour.
Things to vacuum:
Another cleaning option: Items exposed to lice, such as stuffed animals, should be placed in a plastic bag and closed tightly for two weeks. During these two weeks the lice and nits will have no food (blood) and will die.