Pediculosis prevention and control strategies of community health and school nurses: a descriptive study

J Community Health Nurs. 1991;8(2):85-95. doi: 10.1207/s15327655jchn0802_4.


Pediculus humanus capitis (pediculosis capitis) affects several million school children in the United States every year and is more prevalent among children than all other childhood communicable diseases combined. Traditional treatment of pediculosis involves the direct application of pesticides to the scalp of infested individuals. Yet, a single-treatment, 100% ovicidal pediculicide has not been developed. Head lice can be easily detected by an educated screener. The National Pediculosis Association (NPA) recommends regular screenings to control lice outbreaks in school settings. Screening is utilized as a prevention strategy to facilitate early detection and minimize exposure to potentially toxic chemicals. Nurses working with children in the country's schools are in key positions to develop, initiate, and incorporate prevention and control strategies into their child healthcare agenda. An NPA national survey identified specific lice management strategies used by community health nurses (CHNs) and school nurses working in school systems. The purpose of this article is to report the prevention and control strategies used by the nurses. Results of this national survey indicated significant variation in management strategies. A national standardized approach toward prevention and control is not being utilized.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Community Health Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Lice Infestations / epidemiology
  • Lice Infestations / nursing
  • Lice Infestations / prevention & control*
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Scalp
  • School Nursing*
  • Suburban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data