What you need to know about head lice
What is head lice?
Head lice are tiny insects that live on the scalp where they lay their eggs. They have three stages: the egg (nit), the nymph and the adult. Head lice do not spread diseases and cannot be spread between animals or pets and humans, only through direct contact between people.
Head lice spread easily, especially where people are in close contact. They are very common among school-aged children or children attending child care, where they spread through direct hair-to-hair contact or directly by sharing things like hats, combs, hairbrushes or headphones.
One of the first signs of head lice is an itchy scalp. However, children can have head lice for several weeks with no symptoms. If you think your child has head lice, check their hair for nits right away, then again after one week and after two weeks.
What to do if your child has lice
Parents are advised to keep their child at home until they have been treated for lice. Students may only return to school if they are "nit-free." If your child has live lice, ensure that they avoid head-to-head contact with other children until the lice are gone. Children should not share combs, hairbrushes, caps, hats or hair ornaments. You should also check all family members for head lice. Be sensitive to your child's feelings and let them know that having head lice does not mean they are not clean.
Head lice can be treated with the following approved insecticides:
- pyrethrin (found in R&C Shampoo + Conditioner)
- permethrin (Nix Creme Rinse or Kwellada-P Creme Rinse)
- lindane (Hexit Shampoo or PMS-Lindane Shampoo).