Lice - Head

Disponible En Espanol

Care at Home

  • NIX: Buy Nix anti-lice creme rinse (no prescription needed) and follow package directions. * First, wash the hair with a regular shampoo. Then, towel dry it before using the anti-lice creme. Do NOT use a conditioner or creme rinse after shampooing. Reason: It will interfere with Nix. * Pour 2 ounces (full bottle or 60 ml) of Nix into damp hair. People with long hair may need to use 2 bottles. * Work the creme into all the hair down to the roots. * If needed, add a little warm water to work up a lather. * Nix is safe above 2 months old. * Leave the shampoo on for a full 10 minutes. If you don't, it won't kill all the lice. Then rinse the hair well with water and dry it with a towel.   * REPEAT the anti-lice shampoo in 9 days to kill any nits that survived.
  • REMOVE THE DEAD NITS:   * Only live lice can spread lice to another child. * Nits (lice eggs) do not spread lice. * Most treated nits (lice eggs) are dead after the first treatment with Nix. The others will be killed with the 2nd treatment in 9 days. * Removing the dead nits is not essential. However, it prevents others from thinking your child still has untreated lice. * Nits can be removed by backcombing with a special nit comb. * You can also pull them out one at a time. This will take a lot of time. * Wetting the hair makes removal easier. Avoid any products that claim they loosen the nits. (Reason: Can interfere with Nix) * Nit removal is not urgent and should not interfere with the return to school. * Some schools, however, have a no-nit policy. They will not allow children to return if nits are seen. The American Academy of Pediatrics advise that no-nit policies be no longer used. The National Association of School Nurses also takes this stand. If your child's school has a no-nit policy, call your child's doctor.
  • RETURN TO SCHOOL:   * Lice are spread by close contact. They cannot jump or fly. * Your child can return to school after 1 treatment with the anti-lice shampoo. * Check the heads of everyone else living in your home.  If lice or nits are seen, they also should be treated. Use the anti-lice shampoo on them as well. Also, anyone with an itchy scalp rash should be treated. * Bedmates of children with lice should also be treated.  If in doubt, have your child checked for lice. * Remind your child not to share combs and hats.   * Be sure to tell the school nurse or child care center director. She can check other students in your child's class.
  • WHAT TO EXPECT: * With treatment, all lice and nits should be killed. * If lice come back, it can mean another contact with an infected person. It can also be that the shampoo wasn't left on for 10 minutes. It may also mean that hair conditioner was used. * Also, make sure the Nix is repeated in 9 days. If you don't, the lice may come back.
  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF: * New lice or nits are seen in the hair * Scalp rash or itch lasts more than 1 week after the anti-lice shampoo * Sores on scalp start to spread or look infected * Your child becomes worse
  • HAIRWASHING PRECAUTIONS TO HELP NIX WORK: * Don't wash the hair with shampoo until 2 days after Nix treatment. * Avoid hair conditioners before treatment. Do not use them for 2 weeks after treatment. Reason: Coats the hair and interferes with Nix.
  • CLEANING THE HOUSE: * Lice that are off the body rarely cause reinfection. Reason: Lice can't live for over 24 hours off the human body. Vacuum your child's room. * Soak hair brushes for 1 hour in a solution containing some anti-lice shampoo. * Wash your child's sheets, blankets, and pillow cases. Wash any clothes worn in the past 2 days. Wash in hot water (130° F or 54° C). This kills lice and nits. * Items that can't be washed (hats, coats, or scarves) should be set aside. Put them in sealed plastic bags for 2 weeks. This is the longest period that nits can survive. (Note: This is an option. This step probably is not needed.)
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: * Head lice can be treated at home. * With careful treatment, all lice and nits (lice eggs) are usually killed. * There are no lasting problems from having head lice. * They do not carry any diseases. * They do not make your child feel sick. * Here is some care advice that should help.
  • EXTRA CARE ADVICE - CETAPHIL CLEANSER FOR NIX TREATMENT FAILURES: * Go to your drugstore and buy Cetaphil cleanser in the soap department. No prescription is needed. It works by coating the lice and suffocating them. * Apply the Cetaphil cleanser throughout the scalp to dry hair. * After all the hair is wet, wait 2 minutes for Cetaphil to soak in. * Comb out as much excess cleanser as possible. * Blow dry your child's hair. It has to be thoroughly dry down to the scalp to suffocate the lice. Expect this to take 3 times longer than normal drying. * The dried Cetaphil will smother the lice. Leave it on your child's hair for at least 8 hours. * In the morning, wash off the Cetaphil with a regular shampoo. * To cure your child of lice, REPEAT this process twice in 1 and 2 weeks. * The cure rate can be 97%. * Detailed instructions can be found online:


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