Fact Sheet for School
What is it?
Lice, found in the hair in the form of adult lice, larvae and/or nits (eggs) cause severe itching. Head lice live on the hair of the head, coming to the scalp to feed.
Who gets it?
Anyone can get lice.
How is it spread?
Head lice is spread from the infected person to another person either by direct contact, hair-to-hair, or by sharing combs, brushes, hats, etc. LICE DO NOT JUMP OR FLY!
What are the symptoms?
The most common sympton of head lice is itching. Usually the itching is at the back of the head and behind the ears.
What is the treatment?
Head lice can be treated with medicated shampoos, lotions, and cream rinses, that are either prescription or over-the-counter. Follow the directions on the bottle. After shampooing, while the hair is still wet, use a "lice comb" usually found with the shampoo, to remove nits (the tiny greyish-white lice eggs). Clothing, bedding, and stuffed animals used 48 hours before treatment need to be washed in hot soapy water and dried in the dryer or dry cleaned. Stuffed animals need to be sealed in a plastic garbage bag for 10-14 days. Routine vacuuming of carpets and upholstered furniture is sufficient to get rid of any lice from the environment. You also need to vacuum the upholstery of the car to rid it of lice.
How can it be prevented?
Clothing, headgear, combs, brushes and bedding should not be shared. If a child has lice, he/she should be kept home from school until after treatment and the child is nit free.
If you have any questions or concerns, call your local Health Department.