Head Lice Information
Head Lice is a common occurrence in children; 6-12 million school aged children will get head lice this year. Many parents have a lot of anxiety about head lice and fear there is a stigma attached. I wanted to provide the facts about head lice to try and decrease some of the stress for parents.
Fact: Head lice do not jump or fly. They are transmitted from head to head contact
Fact: Head lice want to live in a clean environment so they live on clean people.
Fact: Head lice do not cause diseases, they are just a nuisance to you!
Fact: Head lice survive less than 1–2 days if they fall off a person and cannot feed; nits cannot hatch and usually die within a week if they are not kept at the same temperature as that found close to the scalp.
Fact: Live lice are very difficult to find on a child’s head. Nits are more visible. Nits are the eggs that lice lay. They take about a week to hatch. Most treatments do not kill nits. Nits need to physically be removed from the hair shaft.
Fact: Students will not be excluded from school for head lice. By the time a case is found, the student has had the head lice for 3-4 weeks.
Fact: Head lice do not live on animals, only humans.
The following are steps that can be taken to help prevent
and control head lice:
- Avoid head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact during play and other activities at home, school, and elsewhere (sports activities, playground, slumber parties, camp).
- Do not share clothing such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, hair ribbons, or barrettes.
- Do not share combs, brushes, or towels. Disinfest combs and brushes used by an infested person by soaking them in hot water (at least 130°F) for 5–10 minutes.
- Do not lie on beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have recently been in contact with an infested person.
- Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that an infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry-cleaned OR sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.
- Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay. However, spending too much time and money on house cleaning activities is not necessary to avoid transmission
- Do not use fumigant sprays or fogs; they are not necessary to control head lice and can be toxic if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
Head checks in school often cause a false sense of security. It may take 1-2 weeks for signs of head lice to be seen. Regular head checks at home are the best way to monitor head lice infestation. There are many treatment options so make sure you do research before treating your child.
Please feel free to call me with any questions. And remember, relax. Lice is a common problem, it can be treated, and it does not cause illness in your child.
KEEP CALM AND COMB! ☺