Lice

 Lice are small (1/16) inch long gray insects that can infect the scalp.  They move quickly, yet they cannot jump.  Nits are eggs laid near the scalp, firmly attached to hairs.  Lice cause an itchy rash on the scalp—especially behind the ears and at the nape of the neck.  They are extremely contagious by contact with an infected person’s hair or belongings (hats, clothes, combs, etc.)

Lice only infect human beings, and anyone can be infected.  They are not caused by lack of hygiene.With effective treatment all lice and nits will be killed.  However, some lice are now becoming resistant to the regular anti-lice shampoo. 

Do not mistake simple flakes of dandruff for nits.  Nits stick to the hair shafts.

 WHAT TO DO

  •  use an anti-lice shampoo: (e.g. Nix) that kills lice and nits, and comb thoroughly with lice combs
  •  Apply the anti-lice shampoo to the washed and toweled dried hair, saturating hair and scalp.  Allow to remain on hair for 10 minutes and rinse thoroughly.  Remove nits with provided comb.  Repeat after 7 days if living lice are still observed.  Remove the nits using a fine-tooth comb and backcombing the hair.  The best lice removing comb is the “Licemeister”.  
  • Clean the house: Vacuum carpet, couches, and car.  Soakyour child’s combs and brushes for about 1 hour in a solution made from anti-lice shampoo. Wash bedding, clothing, coats, and hats in hot water.  Items that can’t be washed should be put in plastic bags for 3 weeks, which is the longest time nits can survive. 
  • Be sure to check the hair of everyone else in your home.  If anybody has a scalp rash, sores or itching, go ahead and treat them too even if you may not find any lice or nits.

Note: Most schools require that all nits be removed in order for the child to return to school.

 WHEN TO CALL

 During office hours:

  • the rash or itching are not cleared by 1 week after treatment
  • the sores start to spread or look infected
  • the lice or nits return
  • you have other questions or concerns

Immediately if:

Lice are not a medical emergency.  Please call with concerns only during office hours.

Call or Visit

  • phone: (616) 243-9515

  • FAX: (616) 243-1815

  • after hours: (616) 776-7401

  • or contact us via the Patient Portal

  • Alger Pediatrics
    733 Alger St. SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49507