Pediculosis(head lice)

            Head Lice Educational Handout


HEAD LICE (or pediculosis) are little insects that live on the human scalp and feed on blood. They are a small, tancolored insect (less than 1/8 of an inch long). They may live for days or weeks depending on temperature and humidity. They deposit tiny, gray/white eggs, known as “nits,” on the shaft of hair close to the scalp. The eggs need the warmth from the scalp for hatching. They cannot live for more than 48 hours away from the scalp as adult insects, and eggs cannot hatch at temperatures lower than those found close to the scalp. Head lice do not carry disease, and they are not a sign of uncleanliness. Lice are transmitted by direct contact, head to head. They crawl, they do not fly or hop.

10 Steps to Stay Ahead OF HEAD LICE:

1. Watch for signs/symptoms of head lice: excessive itching or scratching of the head especially behind ears and nape of the neck.

2. Check family members for live lice and nits (eggs) at least once a week. It helps to use natural light and a magnifying glass. Nits (eggs) attach with a cementlike substance to the shaft of individual hairs.

3. Treat family members who have lice. Over the counter medications
(pediculicides) that kill lice and nits are recommended. Most of these chemicals require 2 treatments, 7
10 days apart. If crawling lice are still seen after a full course of treatment, contact your healthcare provider.

4. Use head lice specialized shampoos, following manufacturer’s instructions, to be most effective. Use product over the sink. Keep eyes covered with a washcloth.

5. Removing all nits (eggs) with a special finetoothed comb is the most effective way to get rid of them. This may be a tedious job.

6. Wash and dry items that can be laundered on a hot setting. (hats, pillows, bedding, clothing, etc.)

7. Toys, personal articles, bedding, and other fabrics that cannot be laundered with hot water and a dryer or drycleaned can be kept away from people (in a plastic bag) for more than 2 days if there is a concern of infestation.

8. Head lice can live for 1 2 days away from the scalp; chemical treatment of the environment is not necessary. To remove head lice vacuum floors, carpets, mattresses, and furniture.

9. Continue to check head daily for at least 23 weeks after discovery. Removing nits every day for 3 weeks is the most effective treatment.

10. Help prevent lice infestation by encouraging your child not to engage in activity that causes head to head contact.


Contact your School Nurse if you have any questions or concerns

Amy Abell,
Sep 5, 2018, 5:29 AM