Head Lice and Nits

liceWhat do you do if a child at your Service has head lice (they’re the adult insects) or nits (eggs)?

Staying Healthy Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services  says there is no need to send the child home immediately head lice are detected, and that children can return to the Service the day after head lice are detected if they are being treated effectively.

I’m not sure as a parent I’d welcome a child with lice or nits playing with my child. While lice can’t fly or jump they’re very good at moving from one child to another. It’s impossible to tell young children not to hug their friends, cuddle or touch each other, and isn’t that how they’re shared? The fact that lice/nit treatments need to continue for several days means the lice eggs are unlikely to be killed in the first treatment.  They can be at various stages of their life cycle, so new eggs may be laid and new lice may hatch all the time. If you don’t treat often enough you’ll only get some of the lice and the cycle will go on.  So there is a distinct possibility the surviving  lice will escape a sinking ship if at all possible!

This brings me back to the definition of effective treatment. Staying Healthy says this is when all the lice are dead. What about those nits that hatch while the child is at the Service?

Staying Healthy also says you can’t catch lice from sharing hats.  With all due respect to those medical professionals, I clearly remember the infestation I suffered after trying on numerous hats at a country millinery shop. I gave the gift of lice to my children, and I can tell you it’s not easy getting nits out of thick, blonde hair.

So what is an effective treatment? There are numerous commercial products that claim to eliminate or kill lice and nits in one or two treatments. All I can say is they’ve never worked for me. The old fashioned conditioner and comb treatment is guaranteed to get rid of all lice and nits if followed rigorously, and continued until no lice or nits have been found for 10 days.

Happy (lice) hunting…


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