Lice Information

Lice. Four letters that strike fear in parents and concern in classmates. Shampooing, combing, laundering, sounds exhausting. Knowing that lice are on a child's scalp is not a sign of poor hygiene or poor parenting. An estimated 6 to 12 million infestations occur each year in the United States, most commonly among children ages 3 to 11, so you are not alone!
Here are a few facts about lice (pediculus humanus capitus) :10108_84845_0.png

1.  Head lice can occur at home, school or in the community. They are mostly spread by direct head-to-head contact, for example during play at home or school, slumber parties, sports activities or camp. Less often, head lice are spread via objects that have been in recent contact with a person with head lice, such as hats, scarves, combs or brushes.

2.  Lice do not jump or fly; however, they do crawl quickly. They feed on human blood.

3.  Nits are laid by the adult female and are cemented at the base of a hair shaft. They are often found around the nape of the neck or the ears. Nits are yellowish or white and can look like dandruff but are not able to be brushed off of the hair shaft. In one week the nit hatches.

4.  The nymph matures and becomes an adult about 14 days after hatching; the cycle repeats at two weeks when the female mates with the male. She can lay up to eight nits a day.

5. Adult lice are tiny wingless insects that live close to the human scalp. They are the size of a sesame seed and  are tan to grayish- white. If you do find a live lice, do not panic!

The CDC  and American Academy of Pediatrics have extensive information on treatment options and care.  Please visit:  and

6. Lice do not care for heat.  Blow drying wet hair after shampooing may be useful. Then long hair can be tied back in braids or a pony tail.

7.  It is very important to comb out any existing nits that have been treated. In order to achieve control you must kill the active adults and remove all of the nits. Some families use the combing sessions as a time to read a story aloud or watch a movie.  Careful inspection and combing each night will help to eliminate this situation.

8.  Once lice and nits are treated your child can return to school.

9..  If you are having any challenges with lice, your school health office or pediatrician may provide helpful information.

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