How Did My Child Get Head Lice?
Transmission of lice generally occurs with direct head-to-head contact, possibly with a close friend or sibling. Transmission is more likely to occur in the home than in the school.
Did My Child Get Lice From Our Pet?
No. You can’t "catch" head lice from pets. Head lice need a human host to survive.
What Are The Symptoms?
Many louse infestations experienced by school children are not associated with symptoms but if symptoms do occur, your child’s head may itch. You may see red, hive-like bumps on the head. Lice are active at night so your child may have trouble sleeping. A louse infestation generally does not lead to infection.
How Do I Treat This Condition?
Use of an over-the-counter (OTC) product is the first step in treatment. If your child lives in an area where resistance seems to be occurring, the doctor may recommend treatment with a prescription product, such as malathion 0.5%.
Whether using an OTC or prescription product, it is very important to follow any instructions that are included with the product. After using the product, a metal nit comb also should be used to remove dead lice and nits.
Repeat the treatment with the OTC product eight to 10 days after the first application. A health-care professional should re-examine the child’s head after another eight to 10 days.
If live lice are still seen, treatment failure likely has occurred. A health-care professional will advise you to use a prescription product.
Why Do I Have to Apply Over-The-Counter Drugs Twice?
While the first treatment may have killed the live lice, it often doesn’t affect the nits, because they have tough outer shells. It takes 8-10 days for nits to hatch; a second treatment may help eliminate these newly hatched lice before they can reproduce.
Why Have Lice Developed Resistance To Some Over-The-Counter (OTC) Products?
Because OTC products are frequently used, some lice develop an "immunity" to the active ingredient in these products. This means that over time, lice are able to survive after the application of an OTC product.
Can I Use Mayonnaise Or Olive Oil To Kill Lice?
They aren’t recommended for three reasons. First, mayonnaise, petroleum jelly, olive oil and mineral oil haven’t been clinically proven to be effective against head lice and nits. Second, if nits remain, the head lice problem will persist. Finally, these oil-based products can be extremely difficult (and frustrating) to wash off your child’s hair.
If My Child Didn't Get Lice From School, Then Why Can't My Child Go Back?
While many experts don’t endorse it, many schools have a "no-nit" policy. This means that a child cannot return to school without proof of treatment or a louse- and nit-free inspection.
What Else Do I Need To Know?
It is especially important to avoid using dangerous materials such as kerosene, gasoline, paint thinners or turpentine to get rid of lice.
Do not use an insecticide on furniture, rugs or pets.