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Head Lice.

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Presentation on theme: "Head Lice."— Presentation transcript:

1 Head Lice

2 What are Head Lice? Insects that live and reproduce on your head
Head lice feed on blood from your scalp Head Lice are a common nuisance, and are not considered a health hazard Life 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.

3 Who can get Head Lice? Anyone who has close head-to-head contact with someone who has head lice More common among preschool and elementary school-aged children and their families Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice Head 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!

4 Contracting Head Lice Head lice crawl quickly from head to head when in close contact Cannot fly, jump, or hop Head lice can be transferred when personal objects are shared - e.g. combs, brushes, hats Personal objects - i.e. combs, brushes, towels, hats, stuffed toys, pillows and clothing

5 Recognizing Head Lice Tickling feeling on scalp Itchy scalp
Feeling of something moving in the hair Irritability Sores on head from scratching Presence of nits, nymphs, and/or adult head lice Tickling and persistent itching is caused by an allergic reaction to head lice saliva Sores on head from scratching can become infected

6 What do they look like? Adult head lice
Tiny wingless brown insects; size of a sesame seed Live for about 20 days If a louse crawls off of a head, it dies within 2 days Adult Head Lice Grayish-brown in colour Have hook-like claws that hold onto the hair shaft Female head lice are larger than male head lice

7 What do they look like? Nymphs Nits (eggs) Are baby head lice
Smaller than adult head lice Mature in about 1 week Nits (eggs) Tiny specks; about the size of a knot in thread Firmly attached to the hair close to the scalp Nits 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.

8 Treating Head Lice Ask your pharmacist for a recommended treatment product Only treat when nits or live head lice are present – head lice products do not prevent head lice. Follow product instructions carefully to avoid re-infestation The 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 immediately Use a commercial head lice product - available over-the-counter (without a prescription) - R&C and Nix are covered under Ontario Works with a prescription

9 Treating Head Lice 1. 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

10 Treating Head Lice 3. 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

11 Treating Head Lice Many 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.

12 Treating Head Lice Talk to your family doctor:
If a child is under the age of 2 If you are pregnant or breastfeeding If a person has a seizure disorder If a person has broken or infected skin If lice are on eyebrows, eyelashes or facial hair

13 General Information on Head Lice Products
Follow the directions Timing is important Do not mix products Rinse child’s hair under tap Products should not be used near the eyes, nose, or mouth Wear plastic or rubber gloves Wash your hands after using product Store products away from children Do not apply to open or infected skin

14 Treating Head Lice All nits should be removed after treating with product Head lice products are not 100 % effective Removing nits: will reduce hatching of eggs that were not killed with treatment will allow you to notice if a new infestation occurs

15 Treating Head Lice To remove nits:
Part and lift hair to check for nits or lice Work under a good light (window or lamp) Live lice can be removed with scotch tape wrapped around your finger

16 Treating Head Lice To remove nits
Use fine-tooth nit comb or thumbnail/first finger to grab the nit and slide it off the hair shaft Place nits in a plastic bag, seal and put in garbage Take frequent breaks, especially with young children. Check and remove nits daily for 2-3 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.

17 Treating Head Lice Avoid home remedies – no scientific proof of effectiveness Do 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

18 Housecleaning Wash in hot, soapy water:
Headwear, combs, brushes, pillowcases, towels, bedsheets Items that cannot be washed should be stored in a sealed plastic bag for 2 weeks Excessive housecleaning is unnecessary, but vacuum surfaces where heads have rested Sofas, car seats, helmets NEVER use insecticide sprays To 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

19 Controlling the spread of Head Lice
Discourage head-to-head contact and sharing of hats, scarves, brushes, combs and headwear Check heads of all people in close contact Treat all family members with head lice at the same time Check young school-aged children weekly for head lice; more often if there is an outbreak If head lice continue to return, call your doctor

20 Recommended websites: Please note that information about head lice
Centre for Disease Control Canadian Paediatric Society University of British Columbia Harvard School of Public Health American Academy of Pediatrics Please note that information about head lice varies among sources

21 For more information… Contact Health Line at ext 267. Listowel area residents call ext 267. Or visit

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