Head lice can affect everyone, regardless of socio-economic background. In fact, head lice affect more children than all other childhood communicable diseases combined, with the exception of the common cold. Parents become embarrassed and upset when they discover their child has lice.
Lice spread easily among children in close contact through shared hats, headphones, brushes and even jackets hung close together at school. Teach your child never to share any of the above items.
Lice are more common in daycare and school settings where there is closer contact between children.
Parents may receive a note from school informing them that a case of lice has been diagnosed. These notices are intended to have parents check their child. If your child does not have lice, treating at this time will not prevent lice.
How Do I Tell If My Child Has Lice?
Head lice, like mosquitos, look for a host. They live only on humans where the adult lice lay eggs (nits) in hair. Eggs hatch in a week and the problem rapidly multiplies. A lice infestation is often recognized by uncomfortable itching of the scalp.
Examine your child's hairline behind the ears: If lice are present, you will see small oval-shaped whitish or grayish nits (eggs) attached to the individual hairs close to the scalp. Nits are about the size of a sesame seed and are cemented to the hair shaft.
Dandruff (peeling scalp) can be confused with lice. If you are able to easily comb out what appears to be nits, then they are not nits. Because nits are cemented to the hair shaft, they are not easy to comb out.
Lice are usually found on the scalp but can be found on the eyelashes. This is a different form of lice.
How Do I Kill Lice?
How Do I Tell Old Nits From New Nits?
Shampoos and Lotions Used To Treat Lice
Nix Creme Rinse (over the counter)
RID or R&C Shampoo (over the counter)
Kwell is a lindane product that has been used for years in the treatment of head lice. It is absorbed through the scalp into the brain and can cause damage to your child’s nervous system. Because the other available products are as effective in treating head lice, most pediatricians will no longer use Kwell as a first line treatment. Kwell is only available as a prescription. When it is used, you should follow the directions and only apply one time.
Ovide lotion 0.5%, is now available by prescription for treatment of resistant head lice. It has an excellent safety profile and high cure rate.
Instructions for use:
Mayonnaise: Can It Be Used To Treat Lice?
Mayonnaise works by smothering the lice. You must use regular mayonnaise, not fat-free. Work into your child’s scalp, cover with a shower cap, and leave on for 8 hours (overnight). You may need to repeat this several days in a row.
In most cases, the above treatments will kill the nits. After washing hair, the nits may still be present even though they are dead. As the hair shaft grows over the next week, the nit will be found further from the scalp. If the nits are found close to the scalp (I /8 in.) 7 days later, then these are probably new nits.
If you feel that the lice are still present after 7 days from the first treatment, another treatment can be applied, except if using Kwell. It takes about 7 days for any live nits to hatch.
It is not necessary for us to see a child with lice, unless treatment has been unsuccessful. If you are upset or unsure of whether Iice are really present, call our office and we would be happy to see your child.
Why Is It Necessary To Get Rid Of All The Nits?
Since it is not possible to tell which child has been treated for lice, schools usually want children to be nit-free in order for children to return to class. Most nit combs are only marginally effective.
Nits can be identified best on the crown of the head and by the hairline behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. Use of a magnifying glass makes it easier to see the nits. Nit removal by hand--called "nit-picking"--can take hours and cause hair-pulling anxiety.
How Do I Get The Nits Out Of My Child’s Hair?
Clear is a cleansing concentrate that helps to eliminate the nit-picking chore. Clear contains enzymes that safely loosen the tough bond between nit and hair shaft. The cleansing concentrate also helps to eliminate the unwanted residue left on the hair from pesticide products.
Clear cleansing concentrate is a targeted enzyme system derived from vegetable material. It works very quickly by biodegrading complex organic structures such as nit glue. This system will not react to the basic hair structure, the skin or mucous membranes. The enzymes are harmless, totally biodegradable and unrelated to available biocides, or synthetic dry enzymes.
Apply cleansing concentrate after use of a lice-killing product. Use a pesticide product to kill the lice and eggs. Use Clear after pyrethrin or lindane (Kwell) pesticides, but before permethrin (Nix).
How Do I Use Clear?