Head Lice Treatments from U.S. Dermatology Partners

What is Head Lice?

Head lice are very small parasites that live on human blood. They are usually found on the head, as they are attracted to hair. Lice can be seen with the human eye and resemble dandruff on the head. They remain on the hair or scalp after brushing and can be very difficult to get rid of.

Head lice are spread through contact with other infected individuals. Either by having close contact with someone who has them or by coming in contact with something that they have used such as hairbrushes, clothes, hats and accessories, chairs, pillows, and beds.

Children, especially those in schools, are more likely to get head lice than adults. Girls tend to get head lice more than boys due to the fact that girls generally have more contact with each other and share items that come in contact with the head more often than boys.

The biggest indicator that someone may have head lice is if they experience constant itching on the head or feel like they have bugs moving along their scalp. Seeing tiny moving bugs or stationary eggs on the head is a sign of head lice.

How is Head Lice Diagnosed?

Head lice can be diagnosed by checking the head. The hair should be wet and placed under a light to be seen the best. Using a comb, go through every section of hair looking for eggs or lice. The eggs are called nits and are very difficult to move. They will not easily be brushed away. Check behind the ears and at the base of the neck as they are the most common places to find them.

How Do I Treat Head Lice?

Shampoos that treat lice can be found in drug stores. Keep the shampoo away from the skin as much as possible. These shampoos will also come with a lice comb to remove the lice from the hair. Lice must also be removed from the home and other places the person infected may have been. Disinfect combs and brushes, wash all fabrics in hot water, and places other items that cannot get wet in the dryer on high heat to kill the lice that remain. Other items should be sealed in a plastic bag for at least two weeks to kill the lice.

There is no real prevention for head lice other than avoiding close contact with anyone who has a case of head lice. Do not share certain items such as brushes or hats.

*Results may vary by individual

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