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9 Steps to Keep Ahead of Head Lice
- Watch for signs of head lice, such as frequent scratching. Anyone can get lice which happen from direct head-to-head contact.
- Check all family members for lice and nits (lice eggs) at least once a week. Nits are the size of a poppy seed, oval shaped and are attached at an angle to the side of the hair shaft, usually behind the ears and at the back of the neck. They are “glued” on and cannot be shaken off. Adult lice are the size of a sesame seed. Color of eggs and lice can vary, based on the color of the hair. They do not have wings, but have 6 claws with which to grab the hair shaft. They do not willingly come off the heads. Lice that fall off the head are usually elderly or defective.
- Dr. Frankowski and most experts recommend checking wet hair with a metal lice comb for signs of an active infestation. Otherwise it is hard to find live lice, which crawl away quickly.
- Consult a pharmacist or health care provider before applying pesticides or other lice treatments if anyone involved is pregnant or nursing, has allergies or asthma. Do not treat unless you see live lice. If you are not sure, save a sample on scotch tape and bring it in to our School Nurse, Mrs. Mongeon.
- Consider all of your treatment options. Remember, lice killing products are pesticides and must be used with caution, following directions carefully. Using Cetaphil® cleanser is another new method which Medicaid will pay for. See Nurse Mongeon for directions. The only completely safe alternative is manual removal by combing. Dr. Pollack, a Harvard researcher recommends daily combing for 1 ½ weeks after no live lice are found. I recommend weekly combing as a preventative measure. It is easier to remove a couple of lice early in the infestation rather than waiting until your child has symptoms (a month later) when they've had more time to reproduce.
- Wash bedding and recently worn clothing (within the last day) in hot water and dry in high heat for 30 minutes. Combs and brushes should be soaked in hot water for 10 minutes. Because lice cannot survive off the human body for more than 24 hours, it is not necessary to bag stuffed toys, treat pets, or clean the entire house. It may be helpful to vacuum places where you child’s head touches – couches, car seats, etc.
- There is no evidence to prove that lice sprays or other prevention products have any positive effect, except that they waste your time and money and make a profit for companies that are exploiting lice issues.
- If lice are found on your child, please be responsible and notify your child’s school, child care provider, or playmates so everyone can work together.
- The VT Department of Health and the Department of Education asks schools to follow the protocol for head lice management which has been researched by Harvard University. To access this information, go to https://identify.us.com
It is the family’s responsibility to check for lice on a regular basis.
Call or email me if you have more questions...or want to see samples.
865-4172 or firstname.lastname@example.org