What are head lice?
Lice are small, parasitic insects that can be found on the hair of humans. In particular, lice tend to hide on the scalp behind the ears and close to the neckline. Lice hold on to hair follicles with their six legs and feed on the blood of humans.
Who is at risk for head lice?
Any human with hair on their head or body is at risk for head lice.
Infestation with head lice is most common among preschool and elementary school children. Head lice are spread by direct contact with another person who is infested with lice.
What are the symptoms of head lice?
Head lice do not transmit any diseases. The main symptoms associated with a lice infestation are itching, irritability and sores on the head caused by itching.
What to do if someone I know has head lice?
To treat and avoid spreading head lice, there are many things an infested person can do.
- Over-the-counter or prescription medication are available to put on the infected area. Retreatment should occur once all eggs have hatched or been removed from the hair.
- Head lice combs are effective in removing nit (head lice egg) and lice from hair shaft. Soak all brushes and combs in hot water for 5-10 minutes.
- Wash all hats, scarves, clothing and bedding used be the infested person prior to treatment. Carpet and furniture used by the infested person should also be cleaned.
- If items cannot be laundered, they can be dry cleaned or placed in a sealed plastic bag for 2 weeks.