Head lice are a common affliction among school age children and their families. Lice are not a danger and do not convey serious disease, but they can be a frustrating problem to deal with.
- Treat the hair with Nix Creme Rinse or similar product. These are available without prescription. Follow directions included carefully. This should be repeated once in 7-10 days if new nits are seen. If there are repeated failures, lindane 1% (Kwell) shampoo is available upon a doctor’s prescription. Note that lice are not killed by regular shampoo and water. All family members should be checked if one is found to have head lice.
- If removal of the nits (eggs attached to the hair shafts) is difficult, soak the hair with white vinegar and then apply a damp towel soaked in vinegar to the hair for 30 minutes. Use a fine-toothed comb to help remove nits. Some nits may actually need to be removed by pulling the nit down the hair shaft. It is very important that all nits be removed, since live eggs can hatch every 7-10 days.
- Clothing, bedding, towels and cloth toys should be machine washed in hot water (above 125 degrees) and dried on high heat for 20 minutes. Clothing that cannot be machine washed should be dry cleaned or placed in a sealed bag for at least 10 days. Combs, brushes and hair barrettes should be carefully cleaned on the same day as treatment.
- Vacuum the house thoroughly. Be sure to vacuum beds and furniture.
- Discuss with your child the importance of not sharing coats, caps, hats, combs, brushes and bows with friends or classmates.
- If you find that your child has head lice, please inform his/her teacher so that other students may be checked. This may help your child from becoming re- infected.
A home remedy for head lice, which has been effective, involves the use of mayonnaise. The mayonnaise suffocates the head lice. Directions for using mayonnaise:
- Apply 100% real mayonnaise. Do not use “light”, low fat, fat-free, or Miracle Whip.
- Apply mayonnaise generously to the hair, working it in thoroughly to the scalp.
- Cover the hair with a shower cap for 3 hours.
- Rinse out the mayonnaise with warm water and shampoo.
- Pick out the dead nits from the scalp until they are gone.
- Repeat process weekly as needed.
Scabies are human mites that burrow into the skin and create a severe itchy rash over several areas of the body; characteristically the spaces between the fingers are involved, and the infection can last for months and spread to others if untreated. A visit to the doctor is indicated when this condition is suspected, in order to be sure about the diagnosis, and to discuss treatment.