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Head lice: How to ban these bugs

Original source: https://pennstatehershey.netreturns.biz/HealthInfo/Story.aspx?StoryId=67e6709e-a84f-4071-be33-33b5f72b686a#.W5qQepNKhTY

Head lice are not picky creatures. No matter how clean your home or how good your personal hygiene, they can still get in your hair.

Head lice affect millions of school-aged children each school year. As a new school year starts up, knowing tips for prevention might spare your family some itching heads.

 

 

The facts of lice

Head lice are tiny bugs—about the size of a sesame seed. A single bug is called a louse, and usually has a pale, gray body, although that can vary. These bugs feed on small amounts of blood from a person’s scalp but can live one to two days without a meal while hanging out on things such as bedding and carpets.

Head lice do not jump, hop or fly. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the main way lice spread is from close, prolonged head-to-head contact. There’s also a small chance that lice can spread through sharing items like combs and hats.

Keep lice at bay

To help reduce the risk of a lice infestation in your family, follow these tips from the AAP.

Avoid hair-to-hair contact. Explain to kids that they shouldn’t touch heads while playing with other children.

Don’t share hair accessories. Although the risk is small, kids shouldn’t share combs, brushes, hats, towels and hair accessories. Also, those items should be disinfected in hot water after being used by a person with lice.

If there’s an outbreak at your home or your child’s school, try these tips:

Put sleepovers on hold. Wait at least 48 hours after lice treatment (and after you can no longer spot living lice) before kids have the opportunity to lie on bedding, pillows or carpets that have been used by a person with lice.

Do what you can at home. Lice are found in plenty of very clean homes, and extreme cleanup doesn’t seem to stop their spread, according to the AAP. So, what can you do?

  • Avoid beds, couches, pillows, carpets or stuffed animals that a person with lice has used.
  • Wash and dry pillow cases and other items that a person with lice used in the two days before treatment started. Use hot water (at least 130 degrees) and dry on high heat. If an item can’t be washed, dry-clean it or store it in a sealed plastic bag for two weeks.
  • It’s not a good idea to use pest sprays or fogs.

Make sure everyone in the house is examined. Don’t let these creatures continue to spread.

Spot the signs

Head lice symptoms include itching on the areas where the lice have attached. If you suspect your child has lice or your school has confirmed a case of it, talk to your child’s doctor, who can properly diagnose head lice, prescribe medication and explain proper treatment for making the bugs go away.

Head lice don’t carry any serious illnesses, but they should be treated to keep them from spreading.

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