for Families and Caregivers
Pediculosis, better known as head lice is common during childhood. Anyone, however, of any age and any social class can get head lice. Children, as they play together in day care, pre-school, elementary, and middle schools tend to get head lice more often.
As a parent or caregiver you play an important role in stopping the spread of head lice. Parents are the key to looking for and treating head lice!
Check your children for lice at home.
- Although they are very small, head lice can be seen by the human eye. They live in hair on the head and lay eggs (called nits) on the hair shaft. The nits may be found less than 1/2 inch from the scalp and most often on the hair at the back of the head and neck area. Your children may complain of “feeling something crawling in their hair” or of an ‘itchy head”.
Check and treat everyone in your home.
- It is recommended that parents spend 15 minutes each week on each child carefully looking for head lice or nits. Only treat family members who have head lice or nits.
Notify others who have had close contact with your child in the past 2-3 weeks.
- The life cycle of head lice tells us that it can take 2-3 weeks for symptoms to appear. It takes around 8 days for lice to hatch. Lice reach adulthood in about 9-12 days. This is when female lice will begin laying eggs (nits). Generally an infested person will have fewer than 12 live lice in their hair, but could have hundreds of nits.
Call the school to report head lice and/or nits found on your child.
- Remember head lice are NOT a sign of being dirty. Today, kids can be placed in two groups: those with head lice and those at risk for getting head lice.
Contact your healthcare provider if two treatment regimens have failed and your child continues to have signs of head lice.
Teach children not to share personal items
- Lice can be spread from direct contact, but sharing items like brushes, combs, hair fasteners, and hats may also spread lice.
Follow the treatment regimen recommended in the Head Lice Brochure for Parents
- Download the Head Lice Brochure for Parents for a step by step guide to treating head lice (see More Information below).