IN THIS ARTICLE
Exams and Tests
To find out if your child has lice, the doctor will do a close visual exam to look for live lice or their eggs (nits) on the hair. The doctor may also use a fine-toothed comb to help detect lice. He or she may need to look at the lice or eggs under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis.
Lice will not go away without proper treatment. Treatment should begin as soon as symptoms of lice are noticed or when live lice and eggs (nits) are seen on the person's body or in clothing. Specific treatment depends on the type of lice infestation.
Children with head lice can return to school or day care after their first treatment. Some schools have a "no nits" policy in which the child can only go back to school or day care after eggs have been removed. "No nits" policies are discouraged by medical experts. Most doctors agree that a child should be allowed to return to class after proper treatment and should be urged to avoid close head-to-head contact with other students. Confidentiality should be maintained so as not to embarrass a child who has head lice.
Itching may continue even after all lice are destroyed. This happens because of a lingering allergic reaction to their bites. Over-the-counter cortisone (corticosteroid) creams or calamine lotion may help. For severe itching, antihistamine medicines (such as Benadryl) or stronger, prescription-strength corticosteroid creams may be needed. Don't give antihistamines to your child unless you've checked with the doctor first. And don't use cortisone cream for longer than 7 days without talking with your doctor. Do not use the cream on children younger than age 2 unless your doctor tells you to. And don't use it in the rectal or vaginal area in children younger than age 12 unless you've checked with the doctor first.
What to Think About
Who should be treated?
Treatment is not likely to work if:
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