What are lice?
Head lice are human parasites that live entirely on your head.
How do I check for lice?
Head lice are very small and move very quickly. It's easier to confirm a head lice infestation by finding their eggs (nits). Get a good light and magnifying glass. Start by parting the hair and looking closely at the root. Look for tiny, oval shaped nits cemented to one side of the hair shaft. Nits stick like glue and are very hard to remove. If you see something suspicious, try to move it. If it moves easily, it is not a nit.
How do I prevent catching lice?
You can't eliminate head lice completely but you can reduce your risk by:
How do I get rid of them?
There are two main removal methods for head lice.... chemical treatments or wet combing.
Regardless of which method you choose, you must still manually combout all the nits or the infestation will continue.
Why is manual removal so important?
Because pesticides only kill the live lice, the nits will continue to hatch and reproduce until you get them out. This is your most important step and this is also the most time-consuming. You can expect to spend about two hours per head every two to three days over the next two weeks. Leaving just one louse can cause complete re-infestation.
How can I tell if I have a good lice comb?
You will need a comb with teeth that are at least 2" long to get through the entire thickness of the hair during the final combout stage. The best way to check is to hold it up to the light. If you can see spaces between the teeth of the comb or you can easily bend the teeth, it will not work for nit removal. Check to see that the comb is sealed where the teeth and the handle of the comb meet. If you can see a gap, do not use that comb as lice and nits can get caught in there and you risk re-infesting as you are combing
What do I need to clean?
You do not have to clean your house every day.Cleaning is done only on the first day of your removal as that is the day you are dealing with any adult live lice.
Lice can only live 48 hours when off the head so your cleaning should focus on where the infested person has been in the last 2 days.
They cannot burrow into pillows or mattresses. They need something with thick pile (something that mimicks hair) for their claws to grip and so will not go onto any smooth surface like countertops, leather couches etc.
Most things can be dealt with simply by placing them in a hot dryer for 30 minutes. The heat in the dryer will kill any lice and/or nits. Sheets, pillowcases, towels, stuffed animals etc. can be dealt with in this manner.
Items that cannot be dried can simply be set aside for 2 days and they are good to use again. The lice will dehydrate quickly if left in an area of the home where there is no contact with the infested individual.... no bagging, freezing or trips to the Laundromat required. There is no need to use environmental sprays as lice will die very quickly once they're off the head.
Does cutting the hair make lice and nit removal easier
There is no need to cut the hair when dealing with head lice. Cutting the hair short or shaving the head can be quite traumatizing to the child. Working with a good comb is essential when the hair is thick, curly or long. If the comb is pulling the hair, it may be helpful to trim the ends to avoid any discomfort. Any pulling can also be avoided simply by remoistening the hair with water or applying more conditioner to the ends.
I've heard of Listerine & Cetaphil treatments. Do these work?
No, there is no evidence that either Listerine or Cetaphil will work on their own. These treatments must be followed by regular thorough combing to eliminate.
Who should we notify?
You will need to contact your child's school, sports teams or anyone else who may have been in close contact with your child over the past few weeks. This is a very important step, and when caught early prevents community-wide outbreaks.
What can I do now to prevent re-infestations?
Early detection is the best prevention! Screen all family members regularly and combout once a week.
Will head lice go to other areas of the body?
No, head lice stay above the neck
Do pets get head lice?
No, lice are strictly human parasites which need human blood to survive.