Students found to have evidence of live head lice will be excluded from school. They may be readmitted after having been treated with a medicated lice shampoo or alternative treatment, and are checked by the school nurse. Students absent more than 48 hours will be considered truant.
A second medicated lice treatment is recommended 7 to 10 days later. It is important to follow the instructions for correct use of the product to reduce toxic side effects. Use of any dangerous products like flea or tick shampoo, gasoline or kerosene must be avoided!
When a case of head lice is discovered in a classroom, the nurse will exercise discretion in checking other students in the classroom and notifying parents. The parents are asked to inform the school nurse when their child has head lice. It is the parent’s responsibility to continue checking their child’s hair weekly and treating the child again if lice are still found.
Head lice are considered a nuisance rather than a health issue; however, they can spread between children and therefore need to be controlled. See below for more detailed information.
Identification of Head Lice
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Alternative Lice Treatments
Several products that are on the market are useful in preventing head lice. Some of the products are listed below along with some alternative treatments. These are most successfully when used in conjunction with a traditional treatment
Alberto VO5 Shampoo
Cover the entire scalp with Alberto VO5 shampoo, use as much as needed to saturate the hair. Cover the scalp with saran wrap or a plastic bag or cap, and secure it to the head with a hairpin or clip. Be very careful not to cover the child's nose or mouth. Always have parent/ guardian supervision of the child the entire time the covering is in place. 3. Leave this in place for 30 minutes, then rinse well. Blow-dry the hair. Carefully go through hair and remove every lice and egg (nit) using your fingernails or a special lice comb.
Cover the entire scalp with Alberto VO5 shampoo, use as much as needed to saturate the hair.
Cover the scalp with saran wrap or a plastic bag or cap, and secure it to the head with a hairpin or clip. Be very careful not to cover the child's nose or mouth. Always have parent/ guardian supervision of the child the entire time the covering is in place.
Leave this in place for 30 minutes, then rinse well.
Blow-dry the hair. Carefully go through hair and remove every lice and egg (nit) using your fingernails or a special lice comb.
Cetaphil Lotion Treatment
Often parents are reluctant to apply chemical shampoo to a child's head to treat lice. Some lice are resistant to the chemical shampoos, and sometimes do not respond to treatment. Smothering the lice has been a long-standing non-chemical treatment. Cetaphil is one smothering method that a pediatrician may recommend to kill head lice; it is not as difficult to remove from the hair as mayonnaise or olive oil.
Bath towel, 8 to 12 oz. Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, 8 oz. application bottle, Comb, Bath towel,
Metal lice comb
This product is a thick white water based gel composed of 10% sodium chloride (salt) that paralyzes lice. Call 1.800.482.4464 for a free sample and product information.
Lice Ice is a natural, non-toxic head lice treatment that requires little to no combing. It can be used as often as re-infestation occurs or everyday as a preventative. It is applied to DRY hair, massaged to the roots, allowed to dry completely, and left on for at least 8 hours. Hair is not to be covered.
Regular shampoo removes the product. Lice Ice is non-greasy and pleasant smelling. Because Lice Ice is based in a hair styling product, it does not dry out the hair. It can also be used on scabies. It is found in some Walgreen Drugs.
This is a product of essential oils that is added to water and sprayed onto the infested scalp. This all-natural product is reported to immediately kill head lice.
Traditional Pediculicide Treatments
All pesticide lice treatments must be used as directed to reduce the risk of children. Instructions must be followed carefully. The medication must not be left on the child's head for a time greater than indicated and not reapplied before package recommendations. Most treatments have different recommendations; one brand may have different instructions than another.
Traditional pesticide treatments for head lice may include those described below.
Over-the-Counter Head Lice Medications
Permethrin - Brands such as Nix or other generic store brands.
Pyrethrum - Brands such as Rid, Pronto, A-2000 or other generic store brands.
RID 1-2-3 Lice Elimination Kit - contains three products, shampoo, Egg and Lice Comb-out Gel, and a spray for non-washable items. Both permethrin and pyrethrum should not be used on children or adults allergic to chrysanthemums, ragweed, or petroleum products.
Prescription Head Lice Medications
Malathion Lotion - Brands such as Ovide (Caution: Flammable Product)
Lindane - Brands such as Kwell National Pediculosis Association does not recommend this product for use by children as it is potentially dangerous to the nervous system. Research finds this product to be a toxin that can cause brain damage and even death.
All pesticides used to treat head lice require careful and proper use for safe and effective treatment.
Each one has specific instructions that must be followed carefully. Because all may be irritating to the eyes, mucus membranes, and scalp, it is best to use a sink for treatment to minimize body exposure.
Children should never be allowed to apply or treat their own hair. Adult supervision is absolutely critical for safety and effectiveness. Rubber dishwashing gloves are recommended for use during treatment. No pesticide or alternative treatment will be successful without effective removal of all live lice and nits (eggs) by combing and picking them from the scalp and hair shafts. If live bugs remain after treatment with one product, then a different product should be used for the next treatment after the recommended waiting period. This is a good time to use alternative treatments while waiting for the waiting period to elapse.
Pesticide sprays to the environment are generally not effective and are felt to be dangerous to children. Thorough washing and vacuuming is safer and more effective. A lint remover (the roller kind with sticky tape) can be used on the difficult areas where a vacuum cannot reach. Daily inspection and removal of any live lice and nits and treatment of the environment are crucial to preventing re-infestation. All combs and brushes should be replaced or soaked in hot water (130o F) for at least 10 minutes.
All laundry should be washed and rinsed in hot water with a detergent. One alternative product that has been developed is Acu-Life Lice Wash Laundry Detergent which contains Tea Tree Oil to kill lice in bedding and clothes.
Lice can become a costly and time-consuming problem. The BEST use of your time is in removing nits (lice eggs) from the hair. Research shows that approximately 30% of nits are still alive after lice treatment because no product is 100% effective against nits. A visual exam and combing of hair is made easier in the direct sunlight, in a well-lit room and/or with the use of an adjustable lamp shining directly on the child’s hair. To remove the nits, section the hair (about a/8” X 4” at the scalp) and pull it away from the scalp looking at all sides for nits. (Nits are very small, white, clear, or brown, and oval shaped eggs that do not flick off the hair like dandruff.) Remove the nits with fingernails or a special comb. If using a special comb, comb the section of hair, look at the comb removing any nits or lice from it by dipping it in water, and then continue the process. (Use of a toothbrush or dental floss may be necessary to clean debris from the teeth of the comb.) The entire head can be cleared of nits by repeating the exam and combining section by section. Hair clips can be used to assist in separating the hair. Although the described procedure is time consuming, it is absolutely necessary to prevent re-infestation. It only takes one remaining viable nit to hatch one to three new lice. A child's hair should be inspected at home every day for three weeks after treating for lice. This helps find any nits missed on previous inspections. Also, it helps insure that new eggs are found if any live lice remain on the head. In this case the child's hair needs to be treated again, preferably with one of the alternative treatments.
Combing/Removal Devices or Products
Lice Meister Comb
This very effective tool has been registered with the FDA as a medical device. It has stainless surgical steel teeth that are recommended by the National Pediculosis Association. This comb can be ordered by calling 1.888.542.3634.