According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there is an average of anywhere from 6-12 million cases of head lice reported annually in children ages 3-11. Head lice infestation occurrences happen year round and can be potentially problematic as lice is easily spread from child to child.
First, let's clear up a few misconceptions about head lice.
-- Lice is not caused by poor hygiene or contact with animals
-- Lice transfers during direct contact with an affected individual
-- Lice do not fly or jump, they crawl
So, what is head lice?
-- Lice are small (sesame seed size), grey-white insects
-- Lice attach to the skin of the scalp and neck and move by crawling
-- Lice feed on human blood and lay their eggs (nits) in the hair
-- Lice will die within 1-2 days without feeding on human blood
-- With a good food supply, adult lice can live for about 30 days and male lice can lay about 6 eggs each day
Spotting head lice
-- Separate the hair in various spots and look toward the base of the hair and scalp
-- Lice can move quickly, so it may be easier to spot nits at the base of hairs
-- Nits appear like dandruff but will cling to the hair if you run your finger along it
Avoiding head lice
-- Advise children to minimize head-to-head contact with other children at school or in daycare and avoid sharing or trading items like hats, scarves, headphones, towels, uniforms, brushes, and combs
-- Clean anything that has been in contact with head lice for at least 5-10 minutes in water over 130° F
-- Avoid contact with areas where head lice have been for 1-2 days, like beds and carpets
How to treat head lice
-- Apply head lice products
, like Rid or Nix, according to the manufacturer's directions
-- Clean out any lice or nits with a fine comb and then repeat the application and removal process
-- Physicians may be able to recommend additional products