Lice

Lice can spread quickly through classrooms and families. The child might feel slightly itchy as it crawls through the scalp, and soon thereafter little white "nits" or live eggs will be left along the hair shaft like miniature tear drops. If you suspect your child has lice, look closely at the hair shafts, especially behind the ears and along the hair line in the back. You'll see small white tear drop shaped spots clinging to the hair. It doesn't brush away like a piece of dandruff would. You have to use your fingernails to pull them off. These nits use a special cement to help them adhere to a strand of hair.

Getting Rid of Lice

Use one of the over the counter permethrin-containing shampoos or rinses (examples: Nix Cream Rinse or RID). These products kill the lice and their nits. It's very important to avoid getting it in your child's eyes. Apply as directed and keep it on the hair for a full 10 minutes. You can brush

the hair while it's saturated with the rinse to ensure that every strand is covered. You can then rinse the hair. The rinse can be repeated in one week if needed.

Laundry

It's imperative that every item of clothing, bedding and upholstery that might have been contaminated by the lice gets washed. Use hot water and also hot dry for twenty minutes. To avoid recontaminating hair from the clothes you were wearing before applying the lice-killing shampoos, change shirts before rinsing out the cream rinse. Put all contaminated clothes into large plastic bag while you're waiting to wash them. The lice can't survive that long without a host, so quarantining stuffed animals and bulky pillows in closed plastic bags for two weeks can stop re-infestation. Vacuum upholstery, fabric furniture, and car seats. Then cover them with a sheet or bedspread until you're sure that they're lice free. Disinfect brushes, scrunchies, hair bands, barrettes, etc.

Getting Rid of the Nits

There are several products on the market that help loosen nits (examples: Clear Lice Egg Remover). Apply as directed to loosen the nits, and then comb out. Don't be discouraged when you still see nits. They're presumably dead after you've used the rinse.

More Information

Signs of Lice

Healthy Children: Lice

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