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Head Lice. What are Head Lice?. Insects that live and reproduce on your head Head lice feed on blood from your scalp Head Lice are a common nuisance, and are not considered a health hazard. Who can get Head Lice?. Anyone who has close head-to-head contact with someone who has head lice

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Head Lice

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what are head lice
What are Head Lice?
  • Insects that live and reproduce on your head
  • Head lice feed on blood from your scalp
  • Head Lice are a common nuisance, and are not considered a health hazard
who can get head lice
Who can get Head Lice?
  • Anyone who has close head-to-head contact with someone who has head lice
  • More common among preschool and elementary school-aged children and their families
  • Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice
  • Head lice cannot live on pets or animals, only on humans.
contracting head lice
Contracting Head Lice
  • Head lice crawl quickly from head to head when in close contact
  • Cannot fly, jump, or hop
  • Head lice can be transferred when personal objects are shared
    • - e.g. combs, brushes, hats
recognizing head lice
Recognizing Head Lice
  • Tickling feeling on scalp
  • Itchy scalp
  • Feeling of something moving in the hair
  • Irritability
  • Sores on head from scratching
  • Presence of nits, nymphs, and/or adult head lice
what do they look like
What do they look like?
  • Adult head lice
    • Tiny wingless brown insects; size of a sesame seed
    • Live for about 20 days
    • If a louse crawls off of a head, it dies within 2 days
what do they look like7
What do they look like?
  • Nymphs
    • Are baby head lice
    • Smaller than adult head lice
    • Mature in about 1 week
  • Nits (eggs)
    • Tiny specks; about the size of a knot in thread
    • Firmly attached to the hair close to the scalp
    • Nits are usually found on the hair behind the ears, at the back of the neck, and above the forehead.
    • Do not mistake for dandruff, which can be easily blown off.
treating head lice
Treating Head Lice
  • Ask your pharmacist for a recommended treatment product
  • Only treat when nits or live head lice are present – head lice products do not prevent head lice.
  • Follow product instructions carefully to avoid re-infestation
  • The products kill the head lice and many eggs, but for most products a second treatment is needed 7 to 10 days after the first treatment to kill any newly-hatched lice before they mature.
treating head lice9
Treating Head Lice

1. Before applying treatment, shampoo child’s hair over a sink with regular shampoo – do not use conditioner or combination shampoo/conditioner

- many products require you to damp-dry the hair with a towel or blow dryer.

2. Wear plastic or rubber gloves to avoid unnecessary exposure to treatment product.

- wrap a towel tightly over the child’s eyes to protect them

treating head lice10
Treating Head Lice

3. Apply the head lice product according to product directions.

- timing is important - if the product is rinsed off too soon, head lice and nits may not be killed. If left on too long, there is unneeded product exposure.

4. Rinse child’s hair under tap, not in shower or bath, to minimize product exposure on the rest of the body.

- wash your hands well after using product

- do not re-wash hair for several days after treatment

treating head lice11
Treating Head Lice
  • Many products require a second treatment 7 to 10 days later to kill any newly-hatched lice.
  • If you see live head lice 24 – 48 hours after treatment, then immediately treat again with a different product.
treating head lice12
Treating Head Lice
  • Talk to your family doctor:
    • If a child is under the age of 2
    • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
    • If a person has a seizure disorder
    • If a person has broken or infected skin
    • If lice are on eyebrows, eyelashes or facial hair
general information on head lice products
General Information on Head Lice Products
  • Follow the directions
  • Timing is important
  • Do not mix products
  • Rinse child’s hair under tap
  • Products should not be used near the eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Wear plastic or rubber gloves
  • Wash your hands after using product
  • Store products away from children
  • Do not apply to open or infected skin
treating head lice14
Treating Head Lice
  • All nits should be removed after treating with product
    • Head lice products are not 100 % effective
    • Removing nits:
      • will reduce hatching of eggs that were not killed with treatment
      • will allow you to notice if a new infestation occurs
treating head lice15
Treating Head Lice
  • To remove nits:
    • Part and lift hair to check for nits or lice
    • Work under a good light (window or lamp)
  • Live lice can be removed with scotch tape wrapped around your finger
treating head lice16
Treating Head Lice
  • To remove nits
    • Use fine-tooth nit comb or thumbnail/first finger to grab the nit and slide it off the hair shaft
    • Place nits in a plastic bag, seal and put in garbage
  • Take frequent breaks, especially with young children.
  • Check and remove nits daily for

2-3 weeks.

treating head lice17
Treating Head Lice
  • Avoid home remedies – no scientific proof of effectiveness
  • Do not use flea control products, turpentine, paint thinner, etc.
  • If your child has head lice, tell the school/child care facility and child’s close contacts immediately to prevent further spread
  • Wash in hot, soapy water:
    • Headwear, combs, brushes, pillowcases, towels, bedsheets
    • Items that cannot be washed should be stored in a sealed plastic bag for 2 weeks
  • Excessive housecleaning is unnecessary, but vacuum surfaces where heads have rested
    • Sofas, car seats, helmets
  • NEVER use insecticide sprays
controlling the spread of head lice
Controlling the spread of Head Lice
  • Discourage head-to-head contact and sharing of hats, scarves, brushes, combs and headwear
  • Check heads of all people in close contact
  • Treat all family members with head lice at the same time
  • Check young school-aged children weekly for head lice; more often if there is an outbreak
  • If head lice continue to return, call your doctor
Recommended websites:
  • Centre for Disease Control
    • http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/lice/factsht_head_lice.htm
  • Canadian Paediatric Society
    • http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/whensick/HeadLice.htm
  • University of British Columbia
    • www.healthcare.ubc.ca/lice/intro.html
  • Harvard School of Public Health
    • www.hsph.harvard.edu/headlice.html
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
    • http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/reprint/pediatrics;110/3/638.pdf

Please note that information abouthead lice

varies among sources

for more information
For more information…

Contact Health Line at 519-271-7600 ext 267. Listowel area residents call 1-877-271-7348 ext 267.

Or visit www.pdhu.on.ca.