Headlice

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 8:53am

Every parent’s fear when it’s time to go back to school is for their child to bring home head lice.

We would like to give you basic information in case this should happen.

About lice:

Headlice is a worldwide problem affecting people from all walks of life. They do not distinguish between socioeconomic classes or cultures. Lice live for about a month, during which time they lay about 7-10 eggs (nits) per day. The lice hatch after 8 days and mature to adults in another 8 days. The nits turn white after the lice have hatched, which makes them more visible.

Lice can live without a host for up to 55hrs. Direct contact with the head of an infested person is the primary mode of transmission of pediculosis capitis. Lice do not jump, fly, or use pets as vehicles.

 It is not sure if inanimate objects such as combs, hats, bedding, etc contribute to transmission.

Symptoms:

Patients with lice will often have an itchy scalp and the diagnosis is confirmed by finding nits or live lice.

If you have any doubt about the presence of lice or nits, please make an appointment with us to have your child examined. 

Treatment

You will find several over-the-counter products to treat lice, such as Nix or Rid. However, lice have developed increasing resistance to these products and often require prescription medicine to successfully treat the lice.

Please call us for an appointment to discuss treatment options. Most insurances have a very low cost option for prescription medicines or we can provide co-pay coupons.

To consider: 

* Hair conditioners should not be used prior to application; these products may decrease effectiveness
* Rinsing of topical lice treatments should be performed over a sink rather than in a shower or bath to limit skin exposure
* Rinsing with warm water is preferred over hot water to minimize absorption of the chemical through the skin

Household recommendations

Household members should be examined and treated if infested (live lice or nits within 1 cm of the scalp detected; bedmates should be treated just in case.

Louse survival off the scalp beyond 48 hours is unlikely. It is reasonable to recommend washing clothing and linen used by the infested person during the two days prior to therapy in hot water and/or drying the items on a high-heat dryer cycle. Temperatures should reach at least 130°F. Items that cannot be washed may be dry-cleaned or stored in a sealed plastic bag for two weeks. Vacuuming of furniture and carpeting on which the infested person sat or lay down has also been suggested.