Head lice are insects that invade the scalp and cause the child to itch and scratch the scalp. Lice eggs (nits) are firmly attached to the hair and appear as small white dots.
How Are Head Lice Treated?
Use the following steps as a guide for lice treatment:
- Wet hair thoroughly with warm water.
- Massage the prescribed treatment (e.g., Nix® Crème Rinse) for the appropriate time (usually 10 minutes). Avoid contact of shampoo with eyes or mouth.
- Rinse the hair thoroughly with warm water.
The medicine will kill live insects and usually the eggs as well. However, the nits may not be removed from the hair by shampoo treatment. The hair should be combed with a fine-toothed comb to remove remaining nits. Eggs are best removed by back-combing (combing from the outside inward toward the scalp). If the nits are not entirely removed by combing, the hair can be rinsed with diluted vinegar (equal amounts of vinegar and water) and then combed again. After using the comb, it should be discarded or cleaned with boiling water.
Repeat the treatment in one week to make sure that all the lice eggs are killed. Be sure to store the medicine out of the reach of children at all times, since it is poisonous if swallowed.
The itching and rash may last for a few weeks after treatment.
Preventing the Spread of Head Lice
Head lice can survive on objects such as hairbrushes, combs, caps, scarves, coats and towels for only a few days. All washable clothing, towels and bed linens which have been in contact with people with lice should be machine laundered in hot water and machine dried with high heat for 20 minutes to destroy live nits. Articles that can’t be washed can be dry-cleaned or stored in plastic bags for two weeks. Hairbrushes and combs can be cleaned with
It is possible to catch lice even if you are very clean. They are easily spread by sharing of combs, brushes, hats and close contact. All family members should generally be treated with the prescribed agent. Children in school with the affected individual should be examined for the possibility of head lice.