It’s lice season, what do I DO?

What do I do now?  Here is the checklist for lice treatment:

  1. Gather all necessary equipment such as lice comb, coconut butter, paper towels….
  2. Check all members of family for both lice and nits. Include individuals who regularly come to your home such as babysitters, grandparents, ect.  Determine who is infected.  It is easiest to check for lice after a bath/shower when hair is wet.
  3. Use a recommended head lice treatment on all infected family members and follow the directions carefully. Do not assume that if a little is good, a lot is better.  Overuse of any lice medication may result in adverse effects.  Thinking that an over-the-counter or prescriptions treatment is most effective is not always accurate.  Lice today are “super bugs”.  Being an organic preschool you can choose to slather infected heads with coconut oil and put a swim cap or shower cap over night.  This will suffocate the lice, then follow up with removing nits with your nit comb.  Alternatively, you can hire a company that specializes in lice removal and guarantees their services such as Bug Adieu, Hair Whisperers, Hair Angels, Hair Fairies, Organic Lice Guru, or Lice Age. (Note: CMP Does not endorse any of these companies but we know CMP parents have used them.)
  4. Remove all nits. These are oval white eggs that stick to the hair shaft.  This is the most vital step.  The nits do not come off easily.  Each nit must be snagged firmly by fingernails or lice comb, slid down the hair shaft and removed.  The Nit Free Lice Terminator comb is super helpful for removing nits and can be used again and again.  This comb does not kill lice or nits so you will need to dip the comb in boiling water, rubbing alcohol, or wipe on a paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol between each comb through.  The paper towels should then be put in an airtight sealed bag and thrown away.  Remember your child may not return to preschool with any live lice or nits in his/her hair.
  5. Combs and brushes should be replaced, soaked in boiling water for 5-10 minutes, or washed in hot water and high heat drying in dishwasher. After washing and cooling put in airtight bag and freeze for 24 hours.
  6. Hair ties, hair bows, helmets, headbands, hats, ect. should be replaced, soaked in boiling water for 5-10 minutes, or washed in hot water and high heat drying either through the dishwasher or dryer. After washing and cooling put in airtight bag and freeze for 24 hours.
  7. Launder sheets, towels, blankets, pillows, pillowcases, clothing, and child’s back pack in heated sanitary wash cycle. Dry on high heat in clothing dryer for a minimum of 20 minutes or if item cannot put in the dryer it can be put in double bagged airtight sealed plastic bag for 14 days.
  8. Anything that cannot be washed can be put in double bagged airtight sealed plastic bag for 14 days, put in your dryer on high heat for a minimum of 20 minutes, or stuck in CMP’s Zono on the lice setting.
  9. Vacuum carpets and furniture and any other fabric surface. (Immediately dispose of or empty the vacuum bag into an airtight sealed plastic bag and throw away or lice may re-infest your home.)
  10. Vacuum, wipe clean using paper towels soaked in rubbing alcohol, or lint roll all car upholstery and car seats.
  11. Inform Carmel Mountain Preschool and others in contact with your child as soon as you find lice or nits.
  12. Bring your child and siblings to the CMP office upon return to preschool to be cleared to return to class. Your child and siblings will need to be re-checked in office ten days after being sent home with lice.
  13. Retreat 7-10 days or as directed.
  14. Inspect every family member’s hair for lice and nits every day using a nit comb for the full two weeks from time you find lice/nits on one family member.
  15. Recheck children monthly during lice season.


What can I do to prevent the spread of head lice?  Not a whole lot, but you can try these…

  • Teach your children not to use the personal items belonging to others such as combs, hair brushes, clothing, hats.
  • Avoid hanging hats and coats on the same hooks with other’s clothing. Keep belongings away from shared areas.
  • Keep long hair styled up in tight braids or tight buns if possible. Shaving your child’s head is also an option to help prevent lice.
  • Use correct hair products to repel lice. Coconut oil is known to deter lice – you can slather your child’s hair in coconut oil.  Use a shampoo or conditioner with one of the following ingredients to repel lice: tea tree oil, menthol, eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, lemongrass, citronella or rosemary oil (or add them to your shampoo or mix a few drops with water in a spray bottle and spritz clothing and your child’s head).  These help repel lice, they do not prevent lice.
  • Vacuum your floors and any upholstery that might support lice.
  • Regularly clean anything that your child’s head has direct contact with the heads of other children such as car seats, pillows, headphones, and helmets.
  • Put any clothing/bedding items that go to preschool in the dryer for 20 minutes on high heat when you bring it home from preschool or any other place that it could have contact with other children (i.e. airplanes, gym daycare, friend’s house, camp).
  • Learn to recognize signs of head lice and check for them if a child or family member scratches their head often. Check your child’s head once a week during lice season or if you hear any reports of lice from friends or preschool.
  • Treat immediately when head lice are found.
  • Communicate with Carmel Mountain Preschool and your child’s friends immediately if your child has any signs of lice. This may be an uncomfortable conversation; but is essential in preventing an outbreak in your preschool or neighborhood.  If you’re searching for the right words you may consider, “I hate to have to tell you this but my kiddo has lice.”

How do I identify a Human Head Louse?

  • Head lice are clear in color when hatched, then quickly develop a reddish-brown color after feeding
  • Head lice have six legs equipped with claws to grasp the hair, they do not have wings.
  • Head lice are about the size of a sesame seed.
  • Head lice are crawling insects. They cannot hop, jump, or fly.
  • Lice avoid the light and will scurry away when hair is parted.
  • Head lice need human blood in order to survive.
  • Head lice can survive up to 24 hours off the human host.
  • Head lice live for about 30 days on a host and a female louse may lay up to 100 nits (about 8 nits per day).

How do I identify a nit or a louse egg?

  • Nits are smallish yellowish or grayish-white, oval shaped eggs (smaller than the head of a pin) that are “glued” at an angle to the side of a hair shaft.
  • Nits must be laid by live female lice. You cannot “catch nits”.
  • Once laid, it takes 7-10 day for a nit to hatch, and another 7-10 days for the female to matures and begin laying her own eggs.
  • Nits are always the same shape; they are not irregular or fuzzy.
  • All nits must be removed to control head lice.
  • When nits are squished into a paper towel, they are reddish brown.

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