Head Lice Information:
What are Head Lice? Head lice are a small insect parasite. The adult is about the size of a sesame seed, usually tan or gray in color. They have six legs with small claws at the end of each leg. They are wingless and do not hop, jump nor fly. Lice need human blood to survive and will die within 24-48 hours if they can not find a “meal.” Lice lay eggs (nits) on the hair close to the scalp. Nits are easier to see than lice. They are oval shaped and most often can be seen in the hair behind the ears or near the neck. It takes about six days for the nits to hatch.Head Lice Images: Stages of Development
What are the symptoms? Itching of the scalp is the most common symptom. Scratching can lead to skin sores and skin infections.
How are head lice spread? Most often head lice are spread by head-to-head contact with another person who has lice. Lice can be spread by wearing another person’s hat or clothing, by using another person’s comb, brush, or bedding, or by placing clothing worn by someone who has lice in a shared clothing storage compartment, locker, or a cloak room.
How can head lice outbreaks be prevented? The most important thing to prevent the spread of head lice is to teach your child to avoid head-to-head contact during play and not to share clothing, hats, hair ties, brushes and headphones. Check your children’s hair weekly for lice or nits. If you find lice treat the hair right away with a pediculocide product (see below). Comb the nits out daily with a metal nit comb. If the nits are not completely removed from the head, lice wll continue to spread.Treatment: Some of the over-the-counter (OTC) products are:
NIX Crème RID Lice Killing R&C Shampoo & ConditionerA-200 Pronto Triple X
Be sure to follow the manufacturers directions on the product and retreat the child in 7-10 days.
If you have any health concerns please contact your child's health care provider.
If your child has head lice please report it to your child’s school health office. Your child will need to be checked for lice in the school health office prior to returning to class.Resources:California Department of Public Health: A Parent's Guide to Head Lice 2016FDA: Consumer Health Information: FDA Treating Head LiceAmerican Academy of Pediatrics: http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/126/2/392