September is Back-To-School month and while head lice may be ready for back-to-school, American families are not! Head lice have become well established in the child population for many reasons. Emphasis should be placed on early detection and prevention by screening children on a regular basis. The National Pediculosis Association wants head lice screenings to be part of routine hygiene because when it comes to controlling head lice it's not always what you see, but what you don't see.
Steps to help keep head lice and their eggs out of your child's hair. · Watch for signs of head lice, such as frequent head scratching. Many people associate lice with uncleanliness or poor personal hygiene, but this is not necessarily true. Anyone can get head lice! Although these insects cannot hop, jump or fly, they are easily transmitted from one child to another via head-to-head contact, or the sharing of hats, combs, brushes, etc. · Check all family members for lice and nits (lice eggs) at least once a week. Only those infested should be treated. Lice are reddish-brown wingless insects; nits are grayish-white, always oval shaped and are glued at an angle to the side of the hair shaft. · Be sure not to confuse nits with hair debris such as bright white irregularly shaped clumps of dandruff stuck to the hair shaft or elongated segments of dandruff encircling the hair shaft and easily dislodged. Lice treatment is not appropriate for hair debris. · Consult your pharmacist or physician before applying or using lice treatment pesticides when the person involved is pregnant, nursing, has allergies, asthma, epilepsy, pre-existing medical conditions, or has lice or nits in the eyebrows or eyelashes. Never use a lice treatment pesticide on or near the eyes. · Remember that all lice-killing products are pesticides. If you choose to purchase an over-the-counter treatment follow the directions carefully and use with caution. Manual removal is the best alternative whenever possible and especially when treatment products have failed. · Remove all nits. This assures total lice treatment. Separate hair in sections and remove all attached nits. · Wash bedding and recently worn clothing in hot water and dry in hot dryer. Combs and brushes may be soaked in hot water (not boiling) for 10 minutes. Vacuum fallen hairs with attached nits, upholstered furniture, rugs, stuffed animals and car seats. · Notify your child's school, camp, child-care provider and neighborhood parents. Check for lice on a regular basis. This is the best way to protect your family and community.
If you need additional information, please contact the Beverly Health Department at 978-921-8591 or the National Pediculosis Association at (781) 449-NITS.
Beverly Health Department • 90 Colon Street • Beverly, MA 01915 • Phone: (978) 921-8591 • Fax: (978) 922-5695