Head Lice

Child PillowHenry County Health Department is available to provide guidance on the prevention and treatment of head lice. Community members with a valid Medicaid card, needing treatment, must be seen at the health department before a prescription can be called in.


All checks are by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call 419-599-5545.


How do you get head lice?

Head lice are transmitted through close personal contact with an infested individual, most often through direct head to head contact. Occasionally they are spread by sharing combs, brushes, and articles of clothing such as coats, hats, and scarves.


What are the symptoms of head lice?

  • Intense scalp itching and scratching of the head
  • Redness or small bite marks on the scalp
  • Swollen glands (located on the back of the neck near the ears)


What do I do if my child gets head lice?

Notify your child’s school, preschool, day care center, or babysitter. Also, notify the parents of your child’s playmates. Parental cooperation will help protect all children.

All family members should also be examined and treated as necessary. Head lice remedies may be purchased over the counter or by prescription.


Individual Treatment

  1. Treat all family members with a specially medicated shampoo, lotion or crème rinse recommended for head line exactly as directed on package. Observe all safety guidelines. Consult your physician if you are pregnant or nursing. Do not use these products on infants or any child under the age recommended on the package instructions. Lice/nits on infants should be removed manually.
  2. Apply the treatment as directed by manufacturer. Protect the child’s eyes and do not treat in the bath tub or shower. Towel dry hair and use a comb to remove tangles. Part the hair into sections and use the special nit comb to remove the nits. They may also be removed manually by pulling them off with thumb and forefinger. Recheck the hair until all nits have been removed.
  3. Following nit removal have your child put on clean clothing.
  4. Recheck for nits daily for at least 10 days following treatment.
  5. Repeat treatment in 7 to 10 days.


Environmental Treatment

  1. Machine wash all washable clothing including hats, scarves, coats and bed linens which have been in contact with the infested person during the last three days. Articles should be washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Articles which cannot be washed or dried can be dry cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag for 14 days.
  3. Combs, brushes, and similar items can be soaked in a louse shampoo for one hour or in 150 F water for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Rugs, upholstered furniture and mattresses should be vacuumed thoroughly.