What to Do if Your Child Has Lice

From the Show: Healthy Children
Summary: You child comes home with the dreaded note: the class has lice. What do you do?
Air Date: 3/7/23
Duration: 16:57
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Dr. Corinn Cross
Dr. Corinn Cross was born and raised in New Jersey. She attended Barnard College where she graduated cum laude and majored in philosophy. She went on to attend the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, NJ, where she was selected for the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. Dr. Cross did her internship and residency in pediatrics at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Cross has continued to work at CHLA as a general pediatrics attending.

Dr. Cross is actively involved in her local AAP, Chapter 2, where she is an obesity champion. She is co-founder of the Fit to Play and Learn Obesity Prevention curriculum. Through a collaboration between AAP Chapter 2 and the L.A. Unified School District this curriculum is being used to educate at-risk students and their parents on the risks of obesity and to help them to lead healthier lives. Dr. Cross is an AAP Spokesperson and speaks to children throughout the L.A. school district about obesity, healthy lifestyles and the benefits of walking to school.

Dr. Cross is a member of the Executive Board for the AAP's Council on Communications and Media. She is the Editor of the Council on Communications and Media's blog.
    What to Do if Your Child Has Lice
    Even the cleanest children get lice. Those little bugs tend to nest in certain colors and textures of hair, which is why some people get repeat visits.

    Lice are bugs that crawl from one scalp to another. They can crawl from combs, brushes, and clothing onto a fresh scalp. The bugs look like sesame seeds, and their eggs stick to the hair shaft.

    A louse will only live one to two days when not on a scalp. Eggs don’t hatch if they aren’t in a warm environment. Of course, you should still vacuum and clean linens. It can take up to two weeks for eggs to hatch. It’s better to be cautious.

    It takes four to six weeks for itching to start because of the lice saliva. When the note comes home with your child, the lice have had plenty of time and opportunity to spread.

    You can check your child for lice at home with a couple of sticks, sifting through the hair. Your pediatrician can also check the scalp, make recommendations, and provide prescriptions as needed.

    Lice are treated with over-the-counter medications like Nix (permethrin) and Rid (pyrethrum). Nix is used on wet hair and can kill eggs. Be sure not to use a conditioner before application. Rid is used on dry hair but doesn’t kill eggs. Consider the life cycle of the eggs. You should repeat treatment on day nine, and perhaps once more. Follow your pediatrician’s recommendation for the right medication.

    In this encore episode from March 2017, Listen as Dr. Corinn Cross joins Melanie Cole, MS, to share how to get rid of lice.
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