»

Head Lice Questions and Answers

Head Lice Questions and Answers

What are head lice?

Head lice are small wingless insects about the size of a sesame seed. They feed on blood and live within the hairy scalp of the body. A head louse (only one insect) can lay up to ten eggs. The eggs are called nits. The nits can be seen along the hair shaft, normally within 1/2 inch from the scalp. They may appear light brown or gray but can vary in color. The most common areas are around the ears and along the back part of the neck.

Where do lice come from?

Head lice are insects that date back many centuries. They do not carry disease.

How does a person get head lice?

Lice can be spread during direct contact with a person who has lice. Sharing brushes, combs or hats can also spread lice. It is estimated that 95% of cases are spread through person-to-person contact while only 5% comes from indirect contact.

Can lice jump?

Lice do not have the ability to jump or to fly. They are active, fast crawling insects. Lice have three strong legs with powerful claws on each side to cling to the hair shaft.

What are the symptoms of head lice?

Often, the first sign is itching at the back of the head and around the ears. Not everyone will experience itching. If you notice your child repeatedly scratching his or her head, you should examine the head for nits or bugs.

How long does it take for a person to develop symptoms?

It can take up to 2-3 weeks for symptoms to appear. Some people may never develop symptoms.

Should I treat everyone in the family when my child has lice?

No. If you are using a lice shampoo, treat only those persons with confirmed head lice or nits.

Is it necessary to cut my child’s hair in an effort to get rid of lice?

It is not recommended to cut the child’s hair.

Do lice shampoos kill the insects and their eggs?

These products may kill some of the bugs, but do not kill nits.

Can I use pet shampoo?

Animal treatments are not safe or effective.

Do mayonnaise, oil or electronic combs really work in treating this problem?

Some people think these methods were effective in removing nits or bugs, but there is no current scientific evidence to support these practices

What will prevent my child from getting lice?

Nothing - You cannot completely prevent your child from getting lice. You can talk to your child about not sharing personal items with others. Check your child’s head periodically for signs of lice.

 

News & Notices

Scott County Health Department to Host Event to Celebrate National Public Health Week April 2 - 6 is National Public Health Week! The theme of National Public Health Week 2018 is "Changing Our Future Together.” The Scott County Health Department (SCHD) is kicking off its celebration by hosting an...
Posted: April 2, 2018
Join Scott County Health Department for a free open house to celebrate National Public Health Week! Thursday, April 5, 2018 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Scott County Administrative Center, First Floor Boardroom 600 W. 4th Street Davenport, Iowa 52801 You can expect: Welcome from Ed Rivers, Health...
Posted: March 21, 2018
The American Journal of Public Health, a publication of the American Public Health Association, has gathered a number of studies on gun violence, including studies on concealed firearm permits, safe gun storage, hospitalizations from firearm injuries, and mental illness and mass shootings. This...
Posted: March 8, 2018