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Are children the only ones who get head lice?

While it's more commonly spread among children, parents and other adults are not immune to head lice. When hair has contact with another’s hair (and it will), if that person has lice and you are a favorable environment, you take the risk of exposing yourself to an uninvited houseguest.

What are the symptoms of head lice?

Besides itching, symptoms of head lice may include a low-grade fever, swollen glands, a rash at the nape of the neck, bags under the eyes, and feeling tired. Head lice are nocturnal, meaning that they are more active at night than during the day.

What are lice?

Lice are tiny, wingless insects that live on hair and feed on small amounts of blood from our scalp. A single adult lice is called a louse. A baby is called a nymph. A lice egg is called a nit. The medical term for a person with a hair lice infestation is Pediculosis.

What is a nit?

A nit is the egg of a louse. It is usually attached to the hair with a sticky substance near the scalp.

Won’t shaving my child’s head solve the problem?

Yes, but how many children want bald heads? Shaving to rid lice does not mean the hair is cut short—it means shaving away all the hair on the head.

I'm shrinking our clothes by washing them with hot water and putting them in the dryer. Is there a better way to kill any lice that might be in our clothing?

Lice cannot live off the human head for more than 48 hours. Put any clothing you don't need right away into your dirty clothes basket for two days. By waiting two days, any bugs that might be on your clothes will be dead. You may then wash your clothes in cold or warm like you usually do and any dead bugs will fall off in the wash.

What is a cryptic infestation?

Occasionally a person believes that he or she has lice, even though none can be detected. The problem could be a biting insect or mite that is not present at the time of examination. Insects like mosquitoes, fleas, or bedbugs may bite and then leave. Hair care and laundry products, industrial fibers, an undiagnosed disease, or even anti-louse treatments may be causing itching and irritation.

Who should I notify if my child has lice?

You should notify your child's school, or clubs that your child attends. You should also notify anybody who might have had close head to head contact with your child in the past two weeks.

Does having lice mean I have poor hygiene?

No! Head lice can affect anyone. It doesn't matter if your hair is clean or dirty. Having lice simply means that you have come into close head to head contact with someone else who has lice.

Can using hairspray prevent head lice?

Some people believe that lice won’t attach to dirty hair, so they overuse hairspray and gels. But using these products will not prevent head lice.

How can I get my child's school more involved in this health issue?

Talk to the school principal and your child's teachers. Address your concerns calmly and let them know that fighting head lice is a shared responsibility. Stress that the goal is not to place blame, but rather to work with them to help develop proactive measures to ensure that the school is lice free. Be willing to assist, including checking children's heads, educating families, or helping to raise funds to ensure all children have the necessary tools and resources to fight head lice. You must be willing to do your part if you truly want to make a difference!

What is the quickest way to get past a case of head lice?

There is no shortcut. Tedious, time-consuming nitpicking and checking everyone with whom the person has had contact is the first step toward eliminating head lice. A good comb (when used properly) can eliminate up to 85 percent of the problem. Even when you think you have done the job right, don't let your guard down. The life cycle of lice is three weeks, so keep checking during that time period.

Picture photo of lice louse comb

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