Lice are almost as easy to catch as the common cold. Head lice are not disease carriers. Lice need a human host to survive. They are not carried by pets. Lice are tiny wingless insects that are spread by direct contact with an infested child, article of clothing, upholstery, or shared hair item. Lice do not jump or fly. They are spread by head to head contact, using an infested person's hairbrush, hat, scarf, or lying on an infested bed, carpet, or furniture. The tiny grayish-white nits or eggs are teardrop shaped and stick to the hair shaft like glue. Nits cannot be brushed or blown out like a piece of dry skin would. You will rarely see the bug itself. The average female louse lays 4-6 eggs daily. the egg hatches in 7-10 days. The most common symptom is itching. There are many over-the-counter remedies for killing lice. You must follow the directions carefully. You should contact your doctor if:*someone has allergies or asthma; *you need to treat a child under 2 years old; *you are pregnant; *anyone with nits located any place other than the head. Wash the hair over the sink to prevent the product from going over the body. The treatments are insecticides so follow the directions and do not use any more frequently than 7-10 days between treatments. The lice product kills the bugs but not necessarily the nits (eggs), despite the claims. This is why it is important and necessary to pull, comb, or pick all the nits out of the hair. One nit can hatch and begin the whole process all over again. Genoa Schools has a nit-free policy. The child must have all the nits removed before he/she will be allowed to return to school. There have been home remedies developed to help get rid of lice. I usually recommend that you treat first with a lice shampoo (Rid, Nix, etc.) and then follow with an alternative treatment later. These home remedies are inexpensive and safe and can be repeated daily if needed. One home treatment is to coat the hair with Real Mayonnaise. It must be "real" and not fat-free or salad dressing. It is the fat that smothers the bugs. After applying the mayo to the hair, cover the hair with a shower cap and leave on for 4-6 hours. This treatment is safe and makes the nits easier to pull. YOU STILL MUST PULL EVERY NIT. The same treatment can be done with Queen Helene Cholesterol Conditioner. Treat everyone who is infested at the same time. Wash the towel and clothing the infested child recently used. Wash clothing in hot water and dry using a dryer including: sheets, blankets, bedspreads, coats, hats, and scarves. All items that cannot be washed like stuffed animals, earphones, etc. should be put in a garbage bag and sealed for 2 weeks. All carpets and furniture must be vacuumed thoroughly. The mattress should be swept and flipped. Continue to vacuum the house and furniture daily for the next 7-10 days. Continue to check the child for the next 7-10 days and retreat if necessary after this time. Do not retreat unless necessary. You must continue to check the hair for the next 7-10 days and pull any remaining nits to prevent re-infestation and beginning the problem all over again. Please bring your child to the school office after the treatment to be checked. The child must be nit-free to return to their classroom. Any questions, please call me through your child's school.