2What are Head Lice? Insects that live and reproduce on your head Head lice feed on blood from your scalpHead Lice are a common nuisance, and are not considered a health hazardLife cycle:- Egg is laid on hair shaft, close to scalp. Egg is called a 'nit'.- (nymph) Louse emerges after 6-7 days.- Adult lice live for 20 days, and the female can lay between eggs.
3Who can get Head Lice?Anyone who has close head-to-head contact with someone who has head liceMore common among preschool and elementary school-aged children and their familiesPersonal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head liceHead lice cannot live on pets or animals, only on humans.Head lice can affect anyone - it is most common among preschool and elementary school aged children (3-10 yrs) because of their close contact/play- Affects girls more than boys and women more than men (barrettes, combing hair)- Adults CAN get head lice!
4Contracting Head LiceHead lice crawl quickly from head to head when in close contactCannot fly, jump, or hopHead lice can be transferred when personal objects are shared- e.g. combs, brushes, hatsPersonal objects - i.e. combs, brushes, towels, hats, stuffed toys, pillows and clothing
5Recognizing Head Lice Tickling feeling on scalp Itchy scalp Feeling of something moving in the hairIrritabilitySores on head from scratchingPresence of nits, nymphs, and/or adult head liceTickling and persistent itching is caused by an allergic reaction to head lice salivaSores on head from scratching can become infected
6What do they look like? Adult head lice Tiny wingless brown insects; size of a sesame seedLive for about 20 daysIf a louse crawls off of a head, it dies within 2 daysAdult Head LiceGrayish-brown in colourHave hook-like claws that hold onto the hair shaftFemale head lice are larger than male head lice
7What do they look like? Nymphs Nits (eggs) Are baby head lice Smaller than adult head liceMature in about 1 weekNits (eggs)Tiny specks; about the size of a knot in threadFirmly attached to the hair close to the scalpNits are usually found on the hair behind the ears, at the back of the neck, and above the forehead.Do not mistake for dandruff, which can be easily blown off.
8Treating Head LiceAsk your pharmacist for a recommended treatment productOnly treat when nits or live head lice are present – head lice products do not prevent head lice.Follow product instructions carefully to avoid re-infestationThe products kill the head lice and many eggs, but for most products a second treatment is needed 7 to 10 days after the first treatment to kill any newly-hatched lice before they mature.Treat head lice immediatelyUse a commercial head lice product - available over-the-counter (without a prescription)- R&C and Nix are covered under Ontario Works with a prescription
9Treating Head Lice1. Before applying treatment, shampoo child’s hair over a sink with regular shampoo – do not use conditioner or combination shampoo/conditioner- many products require you to damp-dry the hair with a towel or blow dryer.2. Wear plastic or rubber gloves to avoid unnecessary exposure to treatment product.- wrap a towel tightly over the child’s eyes to protect them
10Treating Head Lice3. Apply the head lice product according to product directions.- timing is important - if the product is rinsed off too soon, head lice and nits may not be killed. If left on too long, there is unneeded product exposure.4. Rinse child’s hair under tap, not in shower or bath, to minimize product exposure on the rest of the body.- wash your hands well after using product- do not re-wash hair for several days after treatment- may need to use a second bottle of product if child has long hair – ask your pharmacist
11Treating Head LiceMany products require a second treatment 7 to 10 days later to kill any newly-hatched lice.If you see live head lice 24 – 48 hours after treatment, then immediately treat again with a different product.
12Treating Head Lice Talk to your family doctor: If a child is under the age of 2If you are pregnant or breastfeedingIf a person has a seizure disorderIf a person has broken or infected skinIf lice are on eyebrows, eyelashes or facial hair
13General Information on Head Lice Products Follow the directionsTiming is importantDo not mix productsRinse child’s hair under tapProducts should not be used near the eyes, nose, or mouthWear plastic or rubber glovesWash your hands after using productStore products away from childrenDo not apply to open or infected skin
14Treating Head LiceAll nits should be removed after treating with productHead lice products are not 100 % effectiveRemoving nits:will reduce hatching of eggs that were not killed with treatmentwill allow you to notice if a new infestation occurs
15Treating Head Lice To remove nits: Part and lift hair to check for nits or liceWork under a good light (window or lamp)Live lice can be removed with scotch tape wrapped around your finger
16Treating Head Lice To remove nits Use fine-tooth nit comb or thumbnail/first finger to grab the nit and slide it off the hair shaftPlace nits in a plastic bag, seal and put in garbageTake frequent breaks, especially with young children.Check and remove nits daily for2-3 weeks.To remove nits:- have person sit in a comfortable chair in a room with bright, natural light- comb hair to remove tangles- part and lift strands of hair to remove nits and lice- If using nit comb, comb hair from the scalp to the ends, repeating until all nits and head lice are removed- Not all nit combs are effective. Use your thumbnail against your first finger to grab the nit and slide it along the hair shaft.
17Treating Head LiceAvoid home remedies – no scientific proof of effectivenessDo not use flea control products, turpentine, paint thinner, etc.If your child has head lice, tell the school/child care facility and child’s close contacts immediately to prevent further spread
18Housecleaning Wash in hot, soapy water: Headwear, combs, brushes, pillowcases, towels, bedsheetsItems that cannot be washed should be stored in a sealed plastic bag for 2 weeksExcessive housecleaning is unnecessary, but vacuum surfaces where heads have restedSofas, car seats, helmetsNEVER use insecticide spraysTo prevent re-infestation of head lice:- store comforters, etc that cannot be washed in a sealed plastic bag for 2 weeks- Wash combs and brushes with soap and hot water
19Controlling the spread of Head Lice Discourage head-to-head contact and sharing of hats, scarves, brushes, combs and headwearCheck heads of all people in close contactTreat all family members with head lice at the same timeCheck young school-aged children weekly for head lice; more often if there is an outbreakIf head lice continue to return, call your doctor
20Recommended websites: Please note that information about head lice Centre for Disease ControlCanadian Paediatric SocietyUniversity of British ColumbiaHarvard School of Public HealthAmerican Academy of PediatricsPlease note that information about head licevaries among sources
21For more information…Contact Health Line at ext 267. Listowel area residents call ext 267.Or visit