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Head lice

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What are head lice?Head Lice Compared to Penny
Head lice are tiny wingless parasites that live on people’s hair and scalp. While they are a nuisance to get rid of, they do not cause disease.

How will I know if I have head lice?
You may have a tickling feeling within your hair, itching, or sores on the scalp from scratching. In good light, another person may be able to see lice moving within your hair or their nits attached to the hair shafts.

What are nits?
Nits are lice eggs. They are oval-shaped and usually a grayish- white, although color can vary. Nits are generally laid close to the scalp, but can be found anywhere on the hair shaft. Dry skin or dandruff is often mistaken for nits; however, dandruff can be easily removed whereas nits are firmly attached to the hair shaft and must be scraped off with a lice comb or fingernails.

How are head lice transmitted?
Head lice are most commonly spread by close person-to-person contact. However, lice move only by crawling. They cannot hop or fly. Head lice occur regardless of race, sex, social economic class, or personal hygiene. Dogs, cats, and other pets do not transmit human lice.

How can I get rid of head lice?
Both over-the-counter and prescription medications are available for treatment of lice infestations. To rid your household of head lice, you must treat the affected person(s) and properly clean the home. Click on the link for steps that will help you in this process.

How can I prevent getting head lice?
Avoid head-to-head contact; do not share personal care items such combs, brushes, towels; do not share clothing such as hats, scarves, hair ribbons; do not lie down on pillows, beds, or couches used by a person known to be infected with lice.

What is the life cycle of a louse?    

Head Lice Life Cycle

Where can I find more information about head lice?

The following links are reputable sources for additional information such as facts sheets, images, FAQs, treatment, and educational resources.

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