Reputable sources of information on pediculosis (head lice):
Head Lice to Dead Lice Video
- This video explains and demonstrates how to supplement any over-the-counter head lice treatment with an easy to follow "Five-Step Battle Plan" that uses olive oil to combat lice. It really DOES work! The video is also good for a little comic relief if you find yourself faced with head lice. While you're at it, you may want to watch the Nit Check Demo
on the same site for some good suggestions on how to check for and remove nits (louse eggs).
NOTE: The Pennsylvania Department of Health Westmoreland State Health Center in Greensburg advocates the "Five-Step Battle Plan" in the Head Lice to Dead Lice video in cases of resistant or re-occuring head lice. The video can be viewed at the State Health Center in Greensburg. Call the the center at 724-832-5315 for more information.
The Greater Latrobe School District has a "Nit-Free Policy" regarding head lice. That means that any child who has been treated for head lice must be free of both live lice and free of louse eggs, "nits" before returning to school. He/she must be cleared by the School Nurse to return to the classroom. If no live lice or nits are found upon visual inspection by the nurse, the child may return to class immediately.
If you have any questions regarding head lice, call your child's doctor or School Nurse to address them. If you feel that your child may have contracted head lice, PLEASE notify your child's teacher and/or the School Nurse as soon as possible. Lice matters are kept confidential.
CALL THE SCHOOL NURSE!
*20 Ways to Keep AHEAD of & Get Rid of Lice*
*1. Watch for signs of head lice (pediculosis), such as frequent, vigorous head scratching. It's important to note that not everyone with head lice has an itchy scalp. The pruritis, or itchiness, is caused by being sensitive to the lice bites, not so much from crawling lice on one's head.
*2. A popular misconception is that pediculosis is caused by being dirty. IT IS NOT! Anyone, rich or poor, male or female, clean or not so clean can get head lice. They are acquired mainly from direct head-to-head contact with someone who has them, or less frequently by sharing hats, clothing, combs, brushes or hair accessories with someone who has head lice.
*3. Check all family members for the presence of head lice and nits (lice eggs) weekly. This practice is especially important if you have young children in daycare or elementary school.
*4. Do not to confuse nits with hair debris, (i.e. dandruff, hair spray droplets or hair casts). Nits are oval in shape and are grey, yellow, tan, tannish/white to white in color. They are usually found fairly close to the scalp and although they are quite small, they are visible to the naked eye immediately upon being layed by the female louse. Empty nits, from which lice have already hatched, remain attached to the hair shaft. They appear lighter in color than nits that still have unhatched lice in them. It is next to impossible to determine whether a nit is empty or not without looking at it through a microscope. Nits are attached at an angle to the side of individual strands of hair. They are most commonly found on hair at the nape of the neck and around the ears. Nits are cemented to the hair and can not be flicked or blown off or otherwise removed easily. They must be slid down the length of the hair to be removed.
*5. If it is determined that head lice have invaded the heads of one or more of your family members, either through your own inspection or after a phone call from your child's daycare provider or school nurse, DO NOT PANIC! Take a deep breath, try to relax and REMAIN CALM! Keep things in perspective. Lice are a nuisance, it's true. The good news is that they do not cause serious illness and they are not life threatening.
*6. Only people who are positive for visible live lice and/or nits should be treated with a pediculicide (lice-killing product). Gone are the days of treating everyone in the house when one member of the family was found to have lice. That practice is not only costly, it could prove to be dangerous depending on the circumstances. It is not only a waste of time, but totally unnecessary to attempt to kill something that's not even there to kill! Again, DO NOT treat anyone who does not have lice/nits.
*7. Pediculicides are pesticides and must be used with caution. Consult a pharmacist or physician before applying a pediculicide if anyone involved is pregnant or nursing, has nits in the eyebrows and/or eyelashes or has allergies or asthma. Never use a lice treatment product on a baby.
*8. If your baby or very young child has head lice and/or nits, I repeat, DO NOT use a pediculicide on them! These products can be harmful to the very young. Please call your doctor for further instructions if a baby or very young person in your house is found to have a case of head lice.
*9. The individual(s) applying the lice-killing treatment should wear protective gloves, especially if multiple family members are in need of treatment. Some of the pediculicide is naturally absorbed through the skin of the scalp of the person being treated, as well as through the skin of the hands of the person doing the treating. If large amounts of a pediculicide are absorbed through the skin, it can prove to be toxic. It can cause not only a local reaction, such as a rash or other skin irritation but a systemic reaction, including temporary neurological symptoms. Wear gloves to avoid toxicity.
*10. Carefully follow the package directions of the lice treatment you decide to use. The length of time the product is to remain on the scalp varies from product to product. Lice-killing shampoos or cream rinses should only be used over a sink, not in the bath tub or shower.
*11. Consider your treatment options carefully. If you choose an alternative method of treatment, it may not have been studied thoroughly enough to determine effectiveness and/or long-term outcomes. No one treatment alone can completely take the place of good old fashioned nit-picking!
*12. Speaking of nits...oh no, not again! "Nit-pick" ALL nits from the heads of family members determined to have head lice after they have been treated with an over-the-counter lice-killing product. Most pediculicides allow the lice eggs to be more easily removed because they break down and loosen the cement that holds the nits to the hair shaft. Separate hair sections and remove all nits with a louse comb and/or fingernails in a systematic manner in order not to miss any. Place the nits in a zip-type plastic bag and dispose of them in the trash when your nit-picking session is over. If you prefer, you can put the nits into a sink and simply rinse them down the drain.
*13. Launder all recently worn clothing, backpacks, bedding, etc. in hot water (above 130ºF) and dry in the clothes dryer on high heat for at least 30 minutes.
*14. Clothes, stuffed animals, etc. that can not be washed and dried should be placed in an air-tight bag for two weeks. Lice can not survive off of a human host for more than a couple of days.
*15. Combs, brushes and hair accessories should be soaked in hot, soapy water (not boiling) for 10 minutes. They may also be run through the dishwasher if you prefer.
*16. Avoid over-the-counter louse sprays. These products are not effective in killing live lice and nits and they leave a residue behind on furniture and rugs.
*17. Vacuuming is the best way to remove lice or fallen hairs with attached nits from carpeting, rugs and upolstered furniture such as couches, chairs and matresses. Do not forget to vacuum the seats in the interior of your vehicle(s).
*18. Notify your child's school, child-care provider, camp, play partners and neighborhood parents. Resist the temptation to blame anyone for giving your child head lice. The truth is, you may never know where you or your children contracted head lice.
*19 Follow the instructions in the pediculicide product insert regarding when to re-treat those who were treated initially for lice. Surprisingly, nits that are four days old or younger can survive lice-killing products and go on to hatch, find a mate and produce more lice. Most products need to be re-applied in 7-10 days to kill any newly hatched lice that survive the first treatment.
*20. Continue to check every head in the house every single day for the next several weeks after treating one or more family members for head lice. That way you will know immediately if someone new has acquired lice, or if someone has been reinfested.
NOTE: You are encouraged to check children for the presence of head lice (live lice &/or nits) routinely at home, weekly if possible (#3 above). If you think your child may have head lice, PLEASE call the Nurse's Office as soon as possible for further instructions. Random head checks are conducted periodically in school, or if a case of head lice is suspected or confirmed.
LET'S WORK TOGETHER TO
SEND HEAD LICE PACKIN'!