What to do when there is Head Lice Outbreak – Residential Facilities


Here are the biggest concerns:

  1. How to identify head-lice quickly and accurately.
  2. How to prevent the spread of lice.
  3. How to deal with the affected residents.


Bugs crawling on the head or falling off. This one is a little obvious, but it is a sure sign of lice.

Itching! Not everyone itches, but if someone is itching quite a lot, do a check!

White specks in the hair especially at the crown, neck or around the ears. Nits can also look like dirt or sand in light colored hair. These are lice eggs (nits) and they don’t fall away when touched. In fact, they have to be pulled off with your fingernails. The nits are found close to the scalp, to take advantage of the warmth and humidity of the head. Nits are usually seen in patches (nests) of 5-10 in the area the size of a coin and are within 1/8th to 1/4 inch from the scalp. Nits are sometimes found further away from the scalp and this can be a sign of having the infestation for quite some time. Nits are not contagious, but the bugs they hatch into most definitely are!

Other signs of lice that are not so obvious.

Tangled or matted hair. Hair can get easily tangled, when there are many nits present. Why? The substance that glues the nits to the hair can be hard to brush through. Especially when there are lots of nits in the hair. This can lead to hair that is difficult to manage and looks messy.

Difficulty concentrating or sleeping (abnormal behavior). When a person has head-lice he is not sleeping well at night because, the bugs crawling around are keeping him awake! Often, when someone is asked if he is itchy, he will say, “No”, but ask if he is sleeping well at night and he may say, “not really!”

Checking a large group of people.

  1. Isolate. Determine which group has cases of head lice. You can get bogged down in checking every one in a living situation, but focus on the residents directly exposed first. Those that share a room together are the most likely to get bugs.
  2. Preliminary Check. Have staff do a preliminary check. This should be done quickly and matter of factly to all exposed individuals. The checker should make a note of the individuals that have signs or are questionable (hair may be dirty or have plant material from outside).
  3. Recheck. The individuals that are questionable should be rechecked by either a nurse or a lice professional such as Hair Maidens. It is the experience of Hair Maidens that in a group of 30, 7-8 will show signs but only 4-5 will actually have lice. Please save your residents from unnecessary stress by rechecking them before treating.


Lice are most contagious when there are lots of bugs on an individual’s hair. The more bugs the quicker it spreads!

Treat early- the sooner the better!

Continue to check the unaffected individuals, especially if they were directly exposed. If they are still clear after 10 days, then they are in the clear!

How to deal with the affected individuals.

Get rid of the bugs! There are a few ways to do this.  You can use a pesticide treatment, but an all natural method will work just as well. Anything that will slow the bugs down can be used.  I like to use a heavy leave-in conditioner with dimethacone as the first or second ingredient. This washes out easily and makes combing with a lice comb easier. There are also natural methods on the market that both physically inhibit the bugs and lubricate the hair. These treatments make use of either dimethecone or dehydrating, all natural remedies (Vamousse), to help you along.

Get rid of the nits! You must use a lice-comb for this step. It sounds daunting but if you have the right comb (LiceMeister) and any conditioner or pesticide free product, you can do this yourself. Hair Maidens helps people by providing the right equipment with the right instructions for lice removal.

The key to getting rid of lice is getting rid of both bugs and nits. This takes a good comb out or two and repeated checks to make sure there is not breakthrough of lice.

After the treatment, either by staff or a professional. The person needs to wash and dry (hot dryer) the clothes and any sheets or towels that may have been used for the past 24 hours. A couch or chair that the person sat on can be vacuumed. That is it! Head lice live on the scalp and can’t survive for more than a few hours off the head.

Why hire a professional? We are specially trained to get rid of head-lice and can get rid of lice in about one hour. This saves you the guesswork, time and money. Let your staff do the things that they do best.