Lice Detection

Cases of head lice are not reportable in Illinois. The Kankakee County Health Department in accordance with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) does not require schools to have "no-nits" policies that require a child to be free of nits before they can return to school or child care. Children should be permitted to return to school or child care after appropriate treatment is started. Check your school’s policy regarding Head Lice to determine whether or not they have a “no nit” policy.

The Kankakee County Health Department offers free educational material and brief consultation with a Public Health Nurse regarding the prevention and treatment of Head Lice. If a head check is needed to determine whether a child is free of nits, a nominal fee of $15.00 dollars is charged.

The Health Department does not offer nor have access to any treatment products. Treatment products can be purchased “over the counter” (OTC) at any local drug store. If the OTC treatment does not remedy the situation, a visit to your personal care provider (medical doctor) is strongly suggested.

Suggested “over the counter” treatment for Head Lice

Ulesfia Lotion is a product with 5% benzyl alcohol, and has 5% mineral oil. (Ulesfia Lotion – Sciele) is applied to dry hair and left on for 10 minutes. Longer lengths of hair require the purchase of multiple bottle(s) of this product; the product is not ovicidal so repeat treatment is necessary 7 days after the first treatment. The FDA has approved this product for patients 6 mos. and older. Lice exposed to this agent lose the ability to close their respiratory spiracles, and then the lotion obstructs their airways and causes them to asphyxiate. Eye irritation and contact dermatitis are listed among the possible adverse effects.

A-200, Pronto, R&C, Rid, Triple X are Pyrethrins that are naturally occurring pyrethroid extracts from the chrysanthenmum flower. They are safe and effective when used as directed. Tyrethrins can only kill live lice, not unhatched eggs (nits). A second treatment is recommended on day 9 to kill any newly hatched lice before they can produce new eggs. Pyrethrins generally should not be used by person who are allergic to chrysanthemums or ragweed.

Permethrin lotion 1%, brand name Nix, is approved by the FDA for the treatment of head lice. Permethrin is safe and effective when used as directed. Permethrin kills live lice but no unhatched eggs. Permethrin may continue to kill newly hatched lice for several days after treatment. A second treatment often is necessary on day 9 to kill any newly hatched lice before they can produce new eggs. Permethrin is not approved for use on children less than 2 years old.

For additional information regarding a variety of parasitic infestations, click here (Division of Parasitic Diseases - Parasitic Disease Information, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).