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From the Nurses’ Office: Everything You Didn’t Know about Head Lice

27 March 2013 admin 2,297 views No Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

By Patty Canright R.N., and Carol Keith R.N., School Nurses

• Head Lice is medically known as Pediculosis. It has existed for several million years and is even noted in the Bible; Exodus 8:17: Aaron “stretched out his hand with his rod and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in men and beast.”

• About 1 in every 100 school children will be infested with head lice each year.

• Transmission of lice occurs by head-to-head contact with an infested individual and indirect contact with personal items (combs, brushes, hats). They imbed into the scalp and do not jump or fly.

• It is not caused by poor hygiene and infests all socioeconomic groups, races, genders and ages.

• Are about the size of a sesame seed and are brown in color, nits (eggs) are silver in color and feel like an egg shell on the hair shaft.

• Have a 30-35 day lifecycle. Lice cannot live off the host for more than 24 hours.

• Itching is the most common symptom.

• Eggs and nits may be confused with dandruff, fibers, scabs, hair product residue and particles of dirt. Nits do not brush off.

• Dead eggs can stay on the hair shaft for weeks, months and years even if dead.

• Transmission occurs more often in the home than at school.

• Problems with re-infestation are due to lack of adherence to the treatment regimen, resistance of some over the counter products and not removing nits from the hair shaft.

For more information visit www.headlice.org.

 

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