10% of elementary school children are treated for head lice each year.

Long stigmatized as an indication of poor personal hygiene or poverty, the fact is that virtually all young children are at risk for head lice... no matter their background.
Though it is widely recognized among health professionals that education is a critical component of a successful like preventive program, the reluctance to discuss the problem and the misconceptions that surround it perpetuate the spreading of the lice from one child to another.


Head lice are found most often on schoolchildren between the ages of 3 - 10.
The adult human head louse has six legs, is wingless, measures approximately 1/8" long, and has a claw at the end of each leg that it uses to grasp the hair shaft. Most eggs are laid at night. Under optimum conditions, 90 percent of the eggs hatch within 7-11 days.
Head lice can move rapidly, but cannot jump or fly. Most head lice are probably transmitted when an infested person comes into direct contact with those who are pest free.
Lice and their eggs can be transferred via infested brushes, combs, caps, hats, scarves, coats, bedding, towels and upholstered furniture.


Although some people may not experience itching for several weeks, excessive head scratching is usually the first sign of head lice infestation. Red or blackish fecal specks on the shoulders and back are other indicators. Tiny (1/32" long) yellowish-color eggs may be seen on the scalp, around the ears and in the nape of the neck.
Scratching can lead to irritated skin, which creates an entry way for germs than can generate conditions such as swollen glands and secondary infections. Severely infected individuals may experience fever and become tired and irritable.


A combination of practices such as combing with a louse comb, shampooing with a special soap and educating the children and their parents to prevent and avoid re-infestation, can control head lice successfully.
Each child should have a separate storage space for head coverings and other clothing at home and school to prevent contact with other garments. Children should also be warned not to share hats, clothing and brushes with others.
Wash the bedding and clothing of the infested child at the same time treatment of the hair and scalp is undertaken. You should dry clean garments that cannot be washed.