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Family Stories and Stories about Smoke Schools-
August 19, 2009
How to Control Head Lice
I originally wrote and published this story on head lice on
October 12, 1999 when we had an awful prolonged
head lice experience with my
daughter Heather, then age 7. She is now 17. Now, my granddaughter
is having a continuous
problem with head lice so I had to search the internet for my previous story and
decided to republish it for my current web page. So here is is- All you ever
needed to know about head lice.
For 13 years I worked in the United States Air Force Hospital Environmental Health
Office. One of my jobs was to inspect hair for head lice, nits, or eggs. I would write
Kwell Shampoo and write a note to the teacher, clearing the
student to return to school because treatment was administered.
Information from my previous story 1999:
I thought I knew everything there was to know about head lice. A recent episode of head
lice caused my seven-year-old to miss 7 days of school and taught me that I didnt
really know anything about lice.
Head lice itch and they may cause infection. They are highly contagious and can easily
jump from one head to another. They can live for days in your pillowcases, sheets, hats,
combs, and brushes. That is why it is important to use hot water and laundry detergent
and table salt about 1/4 th cup to
wash your bedding. Lice can move from one host to another by sharing hats, combs, or
brushes. If you find head lice, you should seal hats, combs, and brushes in plastic bags
in a very hot environment such as a garage
for at least 2 weeks or you may run them through the dryer for at least half an
hour. Tell your children not to bump heads, and not to share hats, combs, or
Contrary to popular opinion, head lice like clean straight hair. They do not like oily
or kinky hair. Each parent should inspect their childrens hair weekly, searching for
live bugs, and nits. The white nits attach within an inch of the scalp and particularly
like the area around the ears or the around the back of the neck. The nits are attached
and do not flake out of the hair and do not come out of the hair easily.
You should not bring your child to school or daycare with lice, because they can spread
like wildfire. You should immediately seek treatment from your local medical doctor. You
have to treat everyone in the household.
I have long suspected that head lice had developed resistance to treatment to
over-the-counter medications. This suspicion was mounted by my daughter's latest month long bout
with head lice. A few weeks ago, I was listening to a news story on National Public Radio.
According to the story, "Rid, an over-the-counter lice treatment with
the active ingredient, was applied to two groups of kids with lice infected hair. One
group was from the United States and the other group was from another country. Rid killed
all the lice from the kids from the other country, but did not kill all the lice from the
kids from the United States." Now I am just a country boy, and I aint no lawyer
or a doctor, but it sounds likely, if the story is true, that the head lice are immune to
any over-the-counter medication with pyrethrin as an active ingredient.
Our doctor gave us a prescription for a brand new product,
as an active ingredient. Ovide was released earlier, however the manufacturer
discontinued it because, quiet simply, it smelled bad.
Currently Ovide or Malathion is available with
physician prescription only. It is very important to read to directions
Now ask your doctor for
Following the instructions on the label, Ovide will kill both the lice and
the eggs. You must put the product on dry hair. However, do not rinse it out.
Leave the product in for eight hours.
The school apparently has a zero tolerance for head lice nits. These turned out to be
the most difficult to remove. I tried everything the label suggested, the doctor
suggested, and a local dermatologist suggested. I tried the lice combs, the electric
battery lice comb. I tried lemon juice. I tried kerosene, an old home remedy. I even
considered paint thinner, until I read the label about toxicity and the links to brain
damage. My last effort was to consider shaving her head. Had the beauty shops been open on
Monday, I would have.
I ended up using
Hope's Lemon Oil Furniture Treatment. The
oil is designed to dissolve old furniture wax. The label said it was non toxic. I have
polished many tables with it and my hands have not fallen off. I knew that lice do not
like oily hair. So I figured what the heck, lets try it.
To my surprise, it seems to have worked. She was admitted back into school Tuesday.
The lemon oil treatment for nits goes easier if you have the child sitting on a yard chair outside. Let
the child hold their head down almost between their legs. Brush the hair upside down until
it is all hanging in front of their head. Wrap a towel around the childs arms and
chest to protect from spilling. Use swimming goggles, or wash cloths to prevent the oil
from getting into the eyes. Liberally pour the furniture polish into the hair. Let it sit
there for at least 10 minutes. Use a stiff hairbrush to work the polish into the hair.
Brush it repeatedly, and brush it again to work out all the kinks. Comb through the hair
several times with a lice comb. The polish makes the nits stand out very clearly. Most of
the knits will now pull out rather easily.
You can pull them out with your fingers. Keep brushing the hair and using the knit comb
until most of the nits are gone. Leave the oil in for about an hour. Brush the hair again
with a hairbrush and the nit comb. Then shampoo with your normal shampoo.
Remember it is a 2 step cure. First you have to kill the live lice and the
knits, then you have to use the lemon oil to comb out the nits.
Initial inspections for nits and bugs continued. The school should send parents a letter instructing them to
get a prescription from a medical doctor. The letter should also give some hints about how
to treat bedding, hats, combs, and brushes. The parents should bring a copy of the
prescription to the school with a written statement indicating that the lice were treated. The
students are normally readmitted after initial treatment and nit removal. The hair should be retreated after
7 days to kill any remaining lice. All day care facilities and schools
will not allow students to come back unless all of the nits are gone. Have you tried
to keep a seven-year-old still
while you pull on their hair for an hour. Have fun!
Head lice are highly contagious and the school should take some steps to control them.
The bubonic plague and the common cold are also contagious and the school should be just
as aggressive with these diseases as they are in controlling the spread of head lice. The
school should not let kids walk around the halls with mucus dripping down their chin,
coughing out germs, and touching doorknobs with germ coated hands. I think that missing
seven days of school for dead head lice eggs is simply ridiculous. Just deal
with it and take care of it right the first time.
How do you know if your child has head lice?
The first sign if head lice is itching.
The lice bite the head and leaves an open sore. If
your child is continuously scratching their head search for head lice. Comb
through their hair and search for live bugs.
Hear is a microscopic view of live head lice.
Then search for eggs or nits.
nits look at first like dandruff flakes but will not peel off- they are
attached. The white nits attach within an inch of the scalp and particularly
like the area around the ears or the around the back of the neck. The nits are
attached and do not flake out of the hair and do not come out of the hair
Email me if you tried this 2 step cure or if you like this
It ain't over until the fat cat
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