Head, body or genital lice (Pediculosis)

Head Lice

  • Live in the hair on your head.
  • Can survive on the head for 3 days.
  • Cause itching and sores on the scalp.


  • White eggs laid by the lice that attach to the hair and hatch in 1 week.


  • Remove nits from the hair with a fine-tooth comb.
  • Water and vinegar help to loosen the nits.
  • Thoroughly wash all linens, combs and brushes.
  • Check all family members for lice and nits—they are very small!
  • Put items that cannot be washed in plastic bags for 2 weeks.

Body lice

  • Nits can be found on body hair and in the seams of underclothing.
  • Itching is severe.
  • Lesions are common on the shoulders, buttocks and abdomen.
  • Wash all dirty clothing in hot, soapy water.

Genital Lice

  • Usually spread by sexual contact, rarely by toilet seats or bed sheets.

Treatment for lice

  • There are over-the-counter preparations—Nix or Rid—but do not use them if the patient has a ragweed allergy. Follow the directions on the box. Do not use a conditioner or combination shampoo/conditioner before using lice medicine and do not rewash the hair for 1 to 2 days after the treatment.
  • Patients may return to school after the first treatment.
  • Make sure the infested person puts on clean clothing after the treatment.
  • If some live lice are found 8 to 12 hours after treatment, but they are moving more slowly than before, do not re-treat. Comb dead and remaining live lice out of the hair. The medicine sometimes takes longer to kill the lice.
  • If no dead lice are found 8 to 12 hours after treatment and lice seem as active as before, the medicine may not be working.Call us for further instructions.
  • Nit combs often found in lice medicine packages should be used to remove nits and lice from the hair shaft. Many flea combs made for cats and dogs are also effective.
  • After treatment, check, comb and remove nits and lice from the hair every 2 to 3 days. Re-treat in 7 to 10 days Check all treated persons for 2 to 3 weeks until you are sure all lice and nits are gone.

To treat the household

  • Machine-wash all washable clothing and bed linens that the infested person touched during the two days before treatment. Use the hot water cycle to wash the clothes. Dry the clothes using the hot cycle for at least 20 minutes.
  • Dry clean clothing that is not washable or store all clothing, stuffed animals, comforters, etc., in a plastic bag for two weeks.
  • Soak combs and brushes for one hour in rubbing alcohol or Lysol.
  • Vacuum the floor and furniture. Do not use fumigant sprays because they can be toxic if inhaled.
  • Do not treat the infested person more than three times with the same medication if it does not seem to work. Call us instead.
  • Do not mix head lice medications

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