Proper treatment is necessary to prevent spread and/or re-infestation of lice.  Please follow these recommendations:

    Inspect other family members especially at the nape of the neck and behind the ears to detect lice/nits.  Lice are small grayish-tan insects.  Their color varies with size.  Nits (eggs) are usually firmly attached to the hair shaft; they can be almost black in color to white.  They will not brush off the hair.  They must be pulled all the way down the hair shaft.
    Treat all infected family members with a prescribed pediculocide (shampoo or conditioner).  There are several over the counter brands and also ones that require a prescription.  Follow the instructions carefully; some require the hair to be dry for application of the treatment.  Leave the treatment on the exact time recommended in the instructions.  Failure to follow the instructions will reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.
    The treatment will only kill a maximum of 80% of the Nits. Nits MUST BE REMOVED by combing them out with a special Nit comb or pulling them out with the fingers.  The shampoo DOES NOT remove them.  There are now several over the counter products that may be purchased to make Nit removal easier.  They work by loosening the glue the Nits are attached to the hair with.  Remember the Nit Removal products do not kill lice or nits.  They must be used after proper treatment with a pediculocide.
    The  Health Services Department recommends that shampoos containing conditioner not be used before or after treatment for head lice.  They appear to coat the hair and reduce the effectiveness of the treatment.
    Wash all personal articles that maybe infected with lice or nits, such as sheets, clothing, towels, jackets, etc. in hot water and detergent or dry-clean.  Lice can live without a host for 2 days.  Nits can live without a host for 17 days.  
    Disinfect combs and brushes by washing them in the lice shampoo and allowing them to soak for the recommended time the treatment was left on the hair.
    Vacuum carpets, upholstery, mattresses and other areas of the house and car.  Be sure to change the vacuum cleaner bag and discard it in the trash after doing this.
    Retreat your child and other infected family members at the recommended time interval in the instructions, (usually 7-10 days).  At this time the entire treatment to the home should be repeated.
    Failure to follow the instructions in the treatment you purchase and failure to clean all areas of the home and clothing increases the risk of re-infestation.

Last Modified on October 25, 2007