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How to spot, treat head lice
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Back to school preparations should include increasing head lice awareness so that you may take steps at home to help prevent your child from becoming infested with head lice. Any time children come together, particularly at the start of the school year or at any social grouping like Girl/Boy Scouts, or Little League, head lice cases commonly increase.

Please teach your child not to share or trade personal items such as hats, combs, brushes, headbands, barrettes, helmets or headphones with foam ear protectors.

Direct, physical, head-to-head contact is the usual method of transmission. Lice do not jump, fly or swim.

They are, however, good crawlers. Check you child’s head weekly for lice and/or nits (eggs).

Mature lice, which are no bigger than a sesame seed, avoid light and are hard to see. Lice eggs or “nits” are usually found close to the scalp. They appear as tiny whitish ovals that are “glued” to the hair shaft.

They cannot easily be flicked away as dandruff can. Head lice do not transmit disease and are not a serious medical condition. They cannot survive on your pets.

If you find head lice on your child, please notify the school and keep him/her home for prompt treatment.

The child should be able to return to school the next day after treatment.

Lice shampoos kill live lice; they do not remove the eggs from the hair. The eggs must be combed out and/or manually removed. Do not over apply lice shampoos. Examine all family members and continue to examine for two weeks and treat only if live lice or nits close to the scalp are found. Spraying or fogging with insecticides or pediculocides is not recommended and may be harmful if used in poorly ventilated areas.

Remember these key points in controlling head lice: check regularly, treat quickly, remove nits.

For more information regarding head lice or its treatment, please feel free to contact your health care provider, your health department, and visit the following Web sites for the Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Pediatrics: