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Got Lice? Schools are Battling the Itch

How to identify and treat this common school problem that is quickly going around.

The first couple of weeks of school have started for many and notes have already come home to several public and private schools in the area regarding students having head lice. 

Rick Williams of Ladue Pharmacy explained: “we have definitely been selling more products to treat lice recently.”  Ladue Pharmacy not only carries the traditional methods of Lice treatment including: RID, Nix, but also a less toxic brand known to many as “Fairy Tales.”  When asked, Williams recommended: “not treating those that were not already infected as it is not needed until you see signs of nits or active lice.”

Ann Body, Lead Nurse for the Ladue School District, said: “the key to effectively using the anti-lice treatments are to follow the directions exactly the way they are stated on the box.”  The important part is making sure that you allow enough time for the shampoo to kill all live nits and lice.  Body gave helpful hints when treating your child and home for lice:

If trying to decipher whether or not what you see on your childs head is dandruff or a nit the difference is that a nit sticks to the actual piece of hair whereas a piece of dandruff moves easily off on its own. 

Follow all the directions as stated on the box, especially in regards to the amount of time required for the shampoo application.

Just because you used the special shampoo does not mean that treatment is done; you must comb through the hair in sections piece by piece to get rid of all nits to prevent them from hatching. 

Make sure that you strip your child’s bedding, recently worn clothes, stuffed animals, etc.  They must be washed at over 130 degrees and dried on high heat.  For those items that cannot be washed put them in a trash bag and close tightly for two weeks (this suffocates the lice and they do not have a host to feed off of).

  • Vacuum all floors, couches, bed of infested child, and wash car seat covers.
  • Keep re-checking your child’s hair daily to make sure new nits have not appeared.
  • Change bed linens, and use new towels daily. 
  • All nits that are one fourth of an inch off of the scalp typically are not live. Make sure you comb all nits out as shampoos do not typically kill all of them.
  • Re-treat your child five to nine days after the initial treatment.

Ladue Schools sends home a sheet for each class infested by lice on “what you should know about lice” to educate parents and children on treatment of lice at home and in the classroom.

As always educate your child on ways to avoid contacting lice such as: not sharing brushes, combs, hats, and having close contact with other children.  Lice cannot be prevented by shampoos or sprays, and does not discriminate on whether or not to choose someone with clean or dirty hair. 

Remind your child to be respectful of those that have lice as it is very common and does not carry disease or represent a hygiene issue.  For more information on Lice visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

lauren September 01, 2011 at 09:24 PM
There's a better way to treat lice with a dry treatment! check out Lousebusters. It's amazing. lousebusters dot com or www.lousebusters.com
James Baer September 02, 2011 at 02:34 AM
I don't know how this happens, but seems to be a ritual of coming back to school every single year.
Penny Warner, RN September 03, 2011 at 02:48 PM
This is the problem. There is a lot of conflicting information. In one paragraph, this statement is made: 'The important part is making sure that you allow enough time for the shampoo to kill all live nits and lice.' And then a few paragraphs further down, this statement is made: 'you must comb through the hair in sections piece by piece to get rid of all nits to prevent them from hatching" If it kills the nits, why would you need to comb through and remove them so they won't hatch? These shampoos simply do not work. Also, there is no need to bag anything for 2 weeks. The eggs will not hatch off the human head and the lice will die in 24 hours or less. There is no magic potion or heated air device - everything must be removed. That is the safest and most effective way to get rid of head lice. But more importantly, make sure you actually have head lice before starting any treatment plan. It is severely misdiagnosed. Penny Warner, RN www.texaslicsquad.com
James Baer September 04, 2011 at 12:35 AM
Penny, we greatly appreciate your professional observations for the real treatment of head lice. Thank you for doing that.
Lisa September 07, 2011 at 03:40 PM
Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel shampoo is not designed to kill head lice! It helps repel lice and no where does it state that it kills anything. Lice Good-Bye is an enzymatic formula that dissolves the body of the louse and the glue that nits stick to the hair shaft with so combing them out is much easier.

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