Early detection and treatment of head lice makes the task of management much easier and can help in preventing the spread of head lice in the community.
In the school setting, the school nurse will examine symptomatic children and /or children that have been noted to have live lice or evidence of nits. If an infestation is noted, the nurse will attempt to notify the parent by phone and recommend that the child be picked up from school to begin treatment.
When a child has been discovered to have an active infestation, prompt treatment (with an American Academy of Pediatrics approved treatment) is recommended.
Prompt treatment will help to minimize the spread to others as well to help the infested child be more comfortable and to attend school ready to learn.
Please consult with your child’s pediatrician or pharmacist for further information and treatment options.
The school nurse is available to assist you in examining your child’s scalp for effectiveness of treatment.
- Your attention at home is critical to help control and manage head lice at school.
- Regular scalp checks by the parent during daily bathing routines is the best way to detect and treat early infestations.
- If one member of the family has been diagnosed with an active infestation, all family members should be carefully checked and treated as needed. Check with your pediatrician if you are not sure when to treat family members. In general, never initiate treatment unless there is a clear diagnosis with living lice.
- It is recommended that you carefully separate the hair. Flip the hair strands to look on the underside of the hair shaft for nits and live lice.
- Eggs will look like small shiny grey/white beads on the hair shaft close to the scalp (~ 1 cm). Dandruff easily fluffs away. The egg of head lice will stick to the strand of hair.
- Live lice are harder to find. They are tiny grey insects that crawl quickly as you are moving the hair and do not like light. Spraying live lice with water or conditioner will help to immobilize them for easier removal.
- Most medicated treatments do not kill all of the eggs. They kill the live lice. The remaining eggs may eventually hatch and restart the infestation. This is why retreatment as per package instructions is so important. The removal of viable eggs that are close to the scalp (~1 cm) may also aid in preventing re-infestation.
- It is equally important to wash the hair care items, linens, clothing and stuffed animals (hot water/hot dryer) to prevent re-infestation. Changing the pillow case frequently may also help prevent reoccurrence.
For additional information go to:
or call the Ulster County Health Department @ 340-3150.