LaPorte County Health Department Lice Information

Head lice are an unwanted, tiny insects the size of sesame seeds. Young lice, or nymphs, are transparent. Some species feed on skin and other debris found on the skin. Other species feed on blood and sebaceous secretions and are easier to see.

Lice do not fly or jump but can move extremely quickly. They are usually passed between the sharing of hats, brushes, combs or pillows. Close contact while playing can also spread lice from one child to another.

Symptoms are usually itching of the scalp. It is difficult to detect live lice on the scalp. Usually the nits, or lice eggs are the only visible evidence of a lice infestation.

Treatment is with the use of over the counter pediculicides. Follow directions very closely. Dead lice and nits need to be removed once they die off. This is an important step in treatment. Seven to ten days after the first treatment an additional treatment is necessary to kill any remaining lice or lice that have recently hatched. If the second treatment fails, you should contact your healthcare provider.

Lice can be prevented by washing all potentially exposed clothes, bedding, and towels in hot water, and dry them on the hot setting in the dryer.

Continue to inspect your child's hair closely for the next several weeks, and then periodically thereafter. Routine screening and early detection are the best prevention.