Lice are tiny, white, wingless insects. Head lice live in the hair of the head, body lice live on clothing, and pubic lice (also called crabs) live in the groin and underarms. Lice lay eggs called nits that stick to the hair very close to the scalp. They feed by biting the skin and sucking blood, which can cause itching.
Lice are spread through close physical contract with the head, clothing, bedding, combs, or even stuffed animals of an infected person.
- Be thoughtful about wearing other peoples hats or clothing
- There is an emerging problem of lice becoming resistant to some treatments. Prior to buying or using any medicine, seek medical care and/or review up to date comprehensive treatment guidance such as can be found on the CDC website.
- If advised to do so, purchase an over-the-counter medicine such as Rid® or Nix®, and carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions, especially with regard to how long you leave in the shampoo and when you may repeat the treatment. Know that itching can persist for a few days even after all lice and nits are eradicated.
- Carefully comb out your hair with special combs to remove lice, nits and egg casings.
- Wash all clothing, sheets, and pillowcases in hot water and machine dry the thoroughly. Items that can’t be washed can be ironed, dry-cleaned, or put in an airtight plastic bag for two weeks.
- Soak combs and brushes in rubbing alcohol for one hour
- Vacuum all carpets, furniture, and car seats
- Contact your school and notify them of your infection
- Do not use kerosene or other flammable, caustic or toxic substances to kill lice
Seek medical attention if:
- You do not respond to over-the-counter medications
- You have an underlying medical problem listed on the product packaging