"How did my child get head lice?"
If you are on this page you may be asking yourself this same question. Don't panic, head lice are more common than you may think and a lot less dangerous than they sound.
First off, what are head lice? What do they look like?
There are 3 forms of lice: the nit, the nymph, and the adult.
- Nit: Nits are head lice eggs. They are hard to see and are often confused for dandruff or hair spray droplets. Nits are found firmly attached to the hair shaft. They are oval and usually yellow to white. Nits take about 1 week to hatch.
- Nymph: The nit hatches into a baby louse called a nymph. It looks like an adult head louse, but is smaller. Nymphs mature into adults about 7 days after hatching. To live, the nymph must feed on blood.
- Adult: The adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, has six legs, and is tan to grayish-white. In persons with dark hair, the adult louse will look darker. Females lay nits; they are usually larger than males. Adult lice can live up to 30 days on a person’s head. To live, adult lice need to feed on blood. If the louse falls off a person, it dies within 2 days.
Where are head lice most commonly found?
On the scalp behind the ears and near the neckline at the back of the neck. Head lice hold on to hair with hook-like claws found at the end of each of their six legs. Head lice are rarely found on the body, eyelashes, or eyebrows.
What can I do if I find head lice on my children?
First off, don't panic. Head lice are not dangerous, they cannot jump from person to person, and they DO NOT spread disease.
Your child can stay in school or daycare but it is important to start treatment as soon as possible. Careful use of a nit comb can potentially remove the lice and adding a head lice shampoo to your treatment schedule can improve the outcome dramatically.
Give us a call to schedule a free headlice check and receive a bottle of headlice shampoo on us, 641-421-9300!
Resources specific to this page:
- Head Lice Treatment Brochure (en Espanol)
- CDC Head Lice Treatment
- For questions regarding head lice in schools, contact Melissa Walker (school nurse consultant) at 515-281-5327 or firstname.lastname@example.org