WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Pediculosis is a lice infestation of the hairy areas on the scalp, genital area, or body. Eyebrows, eyelashes, chest hair, or underarm hair may also be infested. Lice are tiny bugs that bite into the skin and suck blood to live and grow. Lice are hard to see. Many times only the eggs are found. Special lice cream, shampoo, or lotion may be used to treat the lice.
- There are three stages in the life of a louse (lice): nit (egg), nymph, and adult. Adult lice lay nits and glue them onto the hair strands or clothing fibers. Nits look like tiny pieces of dandruff that cannot be brushed off the hair. Nymphs hatch from nits in 7 to 10 days. They are clear in color and feed on scalp blood. Nymphs quickly grow into adults. Adult lice can be tan or gray or a darker color when filled with blood.
- Always take your medicine as directed by caregivers. If you think it is not helping or that you are having side effects, call your caregiver.
- Carefully follow your caregiver's directions or the instructions on the lice medicine. Some lice medicines may cause you to be very sick if not used correctly. Do not leave lice medicine on your skin and hair longer than instructed. Do not use it more often than instructed. Keep all lice medicines and treatments away from your eyes.
- Do not use lice medicine on people who do not have lice. Lice medicine does not prevent lice.
- Put on clean underwear and clothes after your lice medicine treatment.
- Throw away all lice medicine that you do not use. Do not use old lice medicine.
Lice medicine does not always kill all the nits. You must remove them from your hair with a fine-toothed comb.
- A special fine-toothed comb for removing nits may come with the medicine, or you can buy one at a drugstore.
- Removing the head lice nits might be easier if you first put a solution of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water on your hair. Cover your hair with a towel for 30 minutes. Remove the towel and comb the lice-infested hair completely, from the skin outward. Do this once a day until treatment is complete.
- You do not have to shave or cut the hair in the affected area.
- Clean all items that you have used since 2 days before you learned you had lice.
- Use hot, soapy water to wash all clothing, bedding, and towels. Dry these things for at least 20 minutes on the hot cycle of a dryer.
- Dry clean items that cannot be washed in a washing machine. You can also hang these items outside for 2 days. Or, you must put them into a closed plastic bag for 2 weeks if you have head lice. Keep items in a closed plastic bag for 4 weeks if you have body lice or pubic lice.
- Soak your combs, brushes, barrettes, and curlers in rubbing alcohol, antiseptic solution or lice-killing shampoo for 1 to 2 hours. Or you may put these items in boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Carefully vacuum rugs, mattresses, and furniture.
Do not have close body contact with anyone until your doctor tells you the lice and nits are all gone.
You can usually return to work or school 24 hours after using lice medicine. Tell your child's school or daycare center if your child has lice. They will tell you when your child may return to school.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- The bites become pus-filled or crusty or the hair becomes matted and has a bad smell. These may be signs that the bites have become infected.
- You see live lice or new nits more than 2 days after using lice medicine.
- If your skin is burning, itchy, or numb after the lice treatment. Also if it is red, stinging, or swollen after the lice treatment. You may be allergic to the lice medicine.
- You have any problems that may be caused by the medicine you are taking.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Pediculosis (Aftercare Instructions)
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