Head lice are a common community problem among school-aged children, especially children ages 3-11 years. While uncomfortable and a nuisance, head lice are not a health hazard and do not transmit disease. Head lice are tiny wingless insects that live close to and feed off of the human scalp. These insects produce eggs, called nits, which are small, yellowish, and tear-drop shaped, that attach tightly to the hair shaft, and are found most commonly around the nape of the neck and ears. The life cycle is anywhere from 7-12 days. Head lice move by crawling, and do not fly or jump. Direct head to head contact, such as slumber parties, play at home or school, after school activities, sports or camp activities spreads head lice. Signs and symptoms of head lice include: tickling feeling of the scalp or hair and/or itching. Treatment should include the use of an over the counter lice killing product.
Talking with your school nurse or health care provider is recommended. Bed linens, recently used clothes and personal articles such as brushes, combs, clips, should be washed in very hot water. Please note that head lice do not discriminate and they have nothing to do with cleanliness. The following resources may be helpful: