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Head Lice

Head lice are an ancient nemesis that we will probably never completely conquer. Most families at one time or another will have to deal with it no matter how clean or rich they happen to be. Head lice can infest any human head!

The only method 100% effective in eliminating head lice from your child's hair is to first kill the live lice with a special medication called a pediculicide, and then to totally remove all remaining eggs or nits from each hair shaft.

There are many products available at the drug store claiming to kill both the live lice and the eggs. However, there is no evidence that any of the products effectively kill the eggs. Because of this, the eggs must be scraped off the hair with a fine tooth comb or the fingernails.

In about 10 days, this procedure should be repeated to be sure no newly hatched lice have been left in the hair. Repeating this procedure any earlier is not effective or healthy for the child.

Parents become frustrated when their children are repeatedly sent home from school with lice. They often believe reinfestation is occurring at school. In most cases, it is actually happening in the home or at friends' or relatives' houses. To avoid reinfestation, all family members should be checked and treated if necessary.

A common household remedy gaining favor is oil, Vaseline or mayonnaise on the hair. This remedy is not effective, and children feel humiliated if they are sent to school with their hair "oiled." However, some experience has indicated if oil is applied to the hair and left overnight, the nits are more easily removed the next morning after the oil is washed out.

Head lice are not difficult to get rid of if proper procedures are followed. Just remember these six easy steps:
  1. Use a pediculicide on the child's hair. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions.
  2. Remove ALL nits from the hair shafts.
  3. Check other family members and treat accordingly.
  4. Vacuum rugs and upholstered furniture. Change bedding.
  5. Check all family members daily for at least two weeks to be sure all nits are gone.
  6. Repeat the above steps in 10 days.
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Other informative articles:

Hepatitis B
Tick Bite

Tulare County Office of Education
School Health Program
7000 Doe Avenue, Building 700, Visalia, CA 93291

Nan Arnold, Program Manager
(559) 651-0130 • fax: (559) 651-1995

Jim Vidak, County Superintendent of Schools
Tulare County Office of Education
All mail to: P.O. Box 5091, Visalia, CA 93278-5091
Physical address: 6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia, CA 93277
phone: (559) 733-6300 • fax: (559) 627-5219

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