Stanislaus County Health Services Agency
Getting Ahead of Head - Lice
Some Facts About Lice:
  • Lice are programmed for survival with a life span of about 30 days.
  • Lice cannot jump or fly, they have six forward legs with grasping hooks so they can crawl fast and hold on tight.
  • An adult female can lay 3-5 eggs (nits) per day.
  • Live insects feed on blood from the human scalp, but can live up to 4 days off the human head.
  • Secondary skin infections can occur as a result of un-treated head lice, and could lead to more serious medical problems.
  • Lice or nits may be found in carpeting, furniture, car upholstery, stuffed animals, coats, hats, or shirt collars, drawers where hair brushes, combs, hair bands, or clips are stored.

What To Do:

  • Treatment involves the use of an approved product, following the directions exactly.
  • Do not use insecticide sprays, they may be harmful to family members or pets.
  • Everyone living in the house should be checked, but only those with evidence of infestation should be treated.
  • At the time of treatment, the house, mattresses and car should be vacuumed thoroughly, and the vacuum bag disposed of in a plastic bag tied shut.
  • All washable clothing and bedding which have been in contact with the infested person in the last week should be laundered using hot water, and a hot dryer.
  • Non-washables can be vacuumed, dry-cleaned, or sealed in a plastic bag for 30 days.
  • Brushes and combs should be soaked in hot soapy water or washed with the treatment product.
  • Search daily for nits and remove them by sliding them off the hair and disposing of them in the garbage disposal or a sealed garbage bag.
  • Nits must be removed from the hair to prevent re-infestation.
  • Do not treat more frequently than is recommended by the product you are using.
  • If any skin reaction or allergic symptoms occur as a result of treatment, seek medical care immediately.
  • The best treatment is prevention. Don’t allow children to share clothing, hair brushes, or hats / caps with friends.
  • Check hair frequently and respond quickly if evidence of lice is found.

For further information on the treatment of head lice, contact your local school nurse or the Health Services Agency at 558-7400.

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