The School Nurse Lice Battle Plan

Battle Day One

ATTACK #3 - DAY ONE: CLEAN THE ENVIRONMENT.

Do this AFTER you have treated everyone’s hair. Attack #3 can be done tomorrow if you have run out of time today. Cleaning is NOT as important as treating each and everyone’s head.

Do not exhaust yourself with cleaning and run out of time for treating.

Lice are biological, little, living things that need to three things: Oxygen (Air), Hydration (Water), Nutrition (Food). Water and food come from the blood consumed. Without air (the olive oil treatment covers this), the lice will die within the 6-8 hours (See Anatomy). Without hydration, the lice will die in 1-3 days. All the lice that may have fallen out / off of the infested head will be graveyard dead in 24-72 hours. No, the dog’s or cat’s blood won't work.

CLEANING THE ENVIRONMENT ONLY TAKES TWO STEPS:

  1. Surfaces that come into contact with human heads
  2. Vacuum the environment

First of all, focus on the child’s head and then focus on cleaning...or not. What I mean is this: Cleaning the house as aggressively as you have been told or believe that you have to spend a lot of energy and stress. Spend that stress and energy on everyone’s heads and if you have any energy left over, then do the cleaning.

The exception is this: Any surfaces that come into contact with heads: sofas, chairs, beds, pillows, stuffed animals or anything that heads in your household comes in contact with needs to be removed for a few days or covered for a few days. Vacuum the surfaces and then cover these surfaces (sofas, chairs and the like) with a freshly washed, thick blanket. Put the stuffed animals, pillows and sleep-buddies in the dryer on high-heat (provided the items is suited for the dryer). Wash and dry all the linens.

Tip: You know those lint rollers that gets lint off clothes? You can use one of those on the surfaces followed by a good vacuuming before covering with a freshly washed, thick blanket for 2-3 days.

Cleaning #1: Personal Items that come into contact with anyone’s head.

Combs and Brushes - For me? I am trashing or recycling any of these items and buying new ones. If you want to clean the items, you’ll need to soak them for 30 minutes in very hot water (>150 degrees Fahrenheit / 66 degrees Celsius). Remove any loose hairs on these items.Some brushes and combs can not tolerate this high temperature, some can tolerate the dishwasher. Either way, make sure that the items you are cleaning with heat are capable of tolerating the high temperatures. If you really like the comb, brush or hair bows / pins (any hair ornaments) and are not sure if the hot water will damage it, bag it up for a week and you should be okay (30 days to guarantee all the bugs are dead).

Towels - Before finding the lice, you likely washed your hair and dried it with a towel. Towels should be suspect for lingering lice. This is especially true if you reuse towels between washing.

Be sure to dry in the dryer. Washing the towels and clothing will do only one thing: Make your lice clean. The lice will likely survive the washing (more on anatomy later and how they survive being submerged in water). However, a high-heat drying for 30 minutes will dry the bugs out and kill them dead.

Personal Items - Consider any clothing items that have come into contact with anyone's head for the past 72 hours should be considered lice-infested. Two things: 1) Run the items through the dryer for 30 minutes or 2) wait it out by bagging it up and waiting a week or so (30 days to guarantee all is dead and gone).

CLEANING #2 - VACUUM THE ENVIRONMENT.

I’ll keep this short. You can vacuum the floors...or not...it likely will not make a difference. Even if one louse survived in the carpet, it’d never make it back to a head. Yea, it’s possible that a child may roll around on the floor and pick up a stray bug. So, to be safe, get the main areas but don’t over think this part. Consider the size of the lice and the intelligence of these cooties. If a bug happened to get under the sofa and out of the reach of the vacuum cleaner, it would have to crawl with a purpose in the direction of an ever-moving human head of hair as well as the lice having to survive the journey. Don’t sweat this part.

So, focus on rugs, sofas, chairs and other surfaces where someone had put their head before the lice was found and may put their head again after the treatments have begun.

NOTE: Don’t forget the upholstery in the car. Don’t miss this step. Get a lint roller and run it over every surface that heads have touched.

Newsletter

RID VS NIX

RID contains pyrethrum and NIX contains permethrin. But what does that mean? Is one better than the other at killing lice and what about all those eggs?

THE BATTLE PLAN

You’ve found lice on a head in your home. WHAT THE HECK!? Okay, don’t sweat. You’ve got this. Read this LICE BATTLE PLAN and get them bugs gone!!

ALL ABOUT LICE

Learn more about lice. You have an 2-3% chance of lice coming into your home this year. The more you know about these pests the better prepared you’ll be.

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