Head Lice

Head Lice

What are head lice?

Head lice are wingless insects about the size of a sesame seed that are tan in color. The eggs (called nits) hold on tightly to the hair making them difficult to remove. Head lice crawl and can only be spread by direct contact. They thrive in a warm, moist, and dark environment particularly behind the ears and at the base of the scalp behind the neck.

Who is at risk for getting head lice?

"Head lice are found worldwide. In the United States, infestation with head lice is most common among preschool children attending child care, elementary schoolchildren, and the household members of infested children. Although reliable data on how many people in the United States get head lice each year are not available, an estimated 6 million to 12 million infestations occur each year in the United States among children 3 to 11 years of age". (CDC-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

What are the symptoms of lice?

  • Intense itching of the scalp particularly around the ears and the back of the neck which is the result of an allergic reaction to the bites of the head louse.
  • Tiny white specks on the hair that are hard to remove.

Monitoring for Lice

  • Watch for frequent head scratching. Anyone can get lice from head to head contact or from sharing hats, brushes or combs.
  • Call your physician for treatment advice.
  • All lice killing products are pesticides. Follow the directions on the box and do not treat family members who do not have lice
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