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Head Lice

Head lice are small, tan-colored insects that live on the body and draw blood from the scalp. These small insects do not hop or fly, but crawl along the scalp. They lay tiny, gray/white eggs known as nits on hair shafts. Lice can only live for 1-2 days away from the scalp. Lice do not cause disease, but will cause irritation and scratching with secondary skin infection. Head lice is spread through direct contact with hair or head gear of those who are infected. Lice can spread also storing or sharing combs, brushes, hats, blankets, or sheets. Children who are infected with head lice should be excluded from school or other group settings. Once the child has had treatment by a health professional, the child can then return to school and group settings.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Itching of skin where lice feed on scalp and neck
  • Nits found in hair (normally behind the ears and near the nape of the neck)
  • Scratching, especially behind and around ears and nape of neck
  • Open sores and crusting from secondary bacterial infection

How to control them?

  • Pesticides that kill lice and most viable eggs. Home remedies have shown to not be effective. It is not recommended to use salad oils, mayonnaise, petroleum jelly, kerosene or other chemicals.
  • Mechanical removal of lice and nits by combing them out with a special fine-tooth comb. This is very time consuming.
  • Examine others who have been in close contact of someone infected.
  • Articles that have been contaminated should be laundered. Using hot water and drying on hot setting kills lice in bedding and clothing.
  • Toys, personal articles, and other fabrics that cannot be laundered should be kept in a plastic bag for 10 days to ensure the lice are dead.
  • Vacuum floors, carpets, mattresses, and furniture rather than using chemical treatments.
  • Advise children not to share headgear, towels and bedding.
  • Soak combs and brushes in disinfectant solution (1/4 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water) for at least 10 minutes.

Information on this site is intended for Angel Kids Pediatrics patients only. Always consult your doctor before beginning, modifying, or discontinuing any treatment plan.

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