Head Lice Information

General Information

What Are Head Lice and How Are They Spread?

Head Lice are small parasites that can live in your hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes.

Lice are spread through close contact with infested people and objects used by them such as clothing, hats, hair styling items like combs and hairbrushes, and bedding.

Adult head lice can live up to 2 days on personal items, stuffed animals, household surfaces, clothing, and bedding. Anything coming in contact with lice or an infested person 2 days before treatment should be cleaned.

Treatments:

Products called "Pediculicides" contain chemicals that kill lice. However, no treatment is 100% effective. Repeat treatments may be necessary. Consult with your healthcare provider.

Tips and Tricks

Getting Rid of and Preventing Lice

  1. Only use human products. DO NOT use insect sprays and fogs. These can be toxic and do not kill lice. 
  2. Check the head and scalp of everyone in the household for lice so everyone can be treated at the same time. 
  3. Check for lice and nits in every household member daily after initial treatment. 
  4. Avoid head to-head-contact, sharing clothing, hair styling tools, and other personal items. 
  5. Tell parents of close play-mates and friends to examine their children’s heads for lice.
  6. Do not depend on medicated shampoo to completely kill the lice. Comb hair every day to finish the removal. 
  7. Follow ALL of the instructions for the lice shampoo used. Contact your health care provider about additional treatment if lice come back. 
  8. Conditioning shampoo or hair conditioners can prevent the head lice medicine from killing lice. Do not use these products during treatment.

Nit Removal

  1. While hair is wet, separate into sections.
  2. Comb through each section of hair, and remove all nits with a lice comb or fingernails.
  3. Rinse hair and scalp with running water. Allow hair to dry.
  4. Once hair is dry, recheck entire head and remove any remaining nits.
  5. Allow the child to put on clean clothes.
  6. Check for and remove nits daily.

Household Cleaning Instructions:

  1. Machine-wash all clothing, linens, and personal items in water that is at least 130 degree fahrenheit, then dry them in a hot dryer for at least 20 minutes. Allow time for the water to heat up between washings. 
  2. Dry clean items that can’t be washed, or seal them in a tightly closed plastic bag for 14 days. After 14 days have passed, shake the items outside vigorously to remove dead lice and eggs. 
  3. Soak all combs and brushes in hot water for 5-10 minutes. 
  4. Vacuum carpeting, mattresses, household furniture, and auto upholstery. Take the vacuum outside the house to change the bag or dump the canister. Seal the bag containing the lice into another disposable bag and discard in the trash.