Childr Health Information

Head Lice

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Topic: Diseases & Conditions, General Child Health

This handout was written to answer some of the questions most often asked about the treatment of head lice. Please feel free to ask your doctor or nurse to explain any information you do not understand.

WHAT ARE HEAD LICE?
Lice are small, light brown, flat sucking insects found in the hair of infected persons. They bite the scalp and lay their eggs, called nits, in the hair. The lice are passed from one person to another by direct contact, or by sharing items that have been infected such as hats or combs. Outbreaks of head lice sometimes occur in schools and child care centers. The main symptoms are itching and a rash on the scalp. The back of the neck is the favorite area. The lice are difficult to see, but the “nits” look like dandruff and are attached firmly to the hair. The nits are attached so tightly they cannot be removed by normal washing. Nits that are more than ¼ inch from the scalp probably have already hatched or are not going to hatch. If your child has lice, your doctor will prescribe a medicated shampoo or creme rinse for you to use.

Instructions
Follow the instructions that come with medicated shampoo or creme rinse very carefully.

If shampoo is ordered:
1. Apply to dry hair.
2. Rub into hair thoroughly.
3. LEAVE SHAMPOO ON CHILD’S HAIR THE EXACT AMOUNT OF TIME RECOMMENDED IN THE DIRECTIONS AND NO LONGER.
4. Keep the shampoo out of child’s eyes. If any gets into the eyes, immediately rinse out the eyes for at least 15 minutes.
5. Thoroughly rinse the hair and scalp to remove all the shampoo.
6. Remove the nits by back combing with a fine-tooth comb or pull them out individually. The nits can be loosened from the hair shafts by using a mixture of half vinegar and half water applied for 30 minutes under a towel wrap.

If creme rinse is used:
1. Wash hair with regular shampoo; rinse with water and towel dry.
2. Apply enough creme rinse to thoroughly wet hair and scalp (especially behind the ears and on the back of the neck.)
3. LEAVE THE CREME RINSE ON CHILD’S HAIR THE EXACT AMOUNT OF TIME RECOMMENDED IN THE DIRECTIONS AND NO LONGER.
4. Keep the creme rinse out of child’s eyes. If any gets into eyes, immediately rinse out the eyes for at least 15 minutes.
5. Thoroughly rinse the hair and scalp to remove all of the creme rinse.
6. Remove the nits by back combing with a fine-tooth comb or pull them out individually. The nits can be loosened from the hair shafts by using a mixture of half vinegar  and half water applied for 30 minutes under a towel wrap. Do not repeat the treatment unless your doctor directs you to repeat it.

All schoolmates, babysitters, neighbors or other people who have close contact with your child should be made aware of the lice, so they can be checked and treated if infested. All of the child’s head wear, hooded or high collared jackets, scarves and bedding must be dry cleaned or washed in hot water before the child can wear them gain. Items that cannot be washed (hats or coats) can be put in plastic bags for three weeks (the longest that nits can survive). Rugs, mattresses and furniture should be vacuumed well. Combs, brushes, barrettes, curlers or any other hair items should be soaked in a solution made from the anti-lice shampoo. They may also be boiled in water for five to 10 minutes. Store all clothing that cannot be washed or dry cleaned into a plastic bag and seal for two weeks. Call your child’s doctor if you have any problems that may be related to the medications your child used. Products containing lindane (Kwell®) may cause seizures or unusual excitement (hyper). Rid®, other shampoos, or Nix® may produce a hay fever-like allergic reaction. Call your child’s doctor if you are unable to totally get rid of the head lice.

PDF: Child Health Information - HEAD LICE

Derechos de autor(c) de The Children's Medical Center, ano 1999. Este material unicamente tiene fines educativos. No puede ser reproducido, distribuido ni modificado sin previa autorizacion de The Children's Medical Center of Dayton, One Children's Plaza, Dayton, Ohio, 45404-1815. Llame al 937-641-3666 para solicitar autorizacion o para obtener un juego maestro para copias. Para obtener mas informacion puede visitar www.childrensdayton.org (consulte la seccion de informacion legal).

La informacion contenida en este material es unicamente informacion de tipo general. No debe considerarse como completa. Para obtener mas informacion acerca de los complementos para leche materna, por favor pidala a su doctor.
Corregido: 1994, 1999, 2002

The information contained in this handout is for general information only and should not be considered complete. For specific information about bathing your baby, please ask your doctor or nurse practitioner.

Additional information may be located in the Family Resource Center, 2nd floor, near the Outpatient Surgery Center. Hours of the center vary; please contact the Family Resource Center at 937-641-3700.

Copyright(c) The Children's Medical Center of Dayton. This material is for educational purposes only. It cannot be reproduced or distributed without permission from Dayton Children's.
Revised: 1994, 1999, 2002

 

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