Your child’s sleep may be disturbed or irritability due to an itchy scalp

Parents of elementary school students dread the day their child comes home from school with lice. But although lice are unpleasant, it is not the end of the world. Lice don’t cause any serious medical diseases, and they have nothing to do with the cleanliness of your home or your child.

Head lice are tiny insects that lay their eggs, or nits, close to the scalp. Shaped like tiny teardrops, the nits are brownish white, about the size of a poppy seed and stick to individual hairs. Adult lice have six legs and are 2 mm to 4 mm long, about the size of a sesame seed.

They spread through direct contact or by sharing items such as combs, hats or hairbrushes, lice crawl quickly. They do not jump, fly or hop. An itchy scalp may be a sign of lice, but often there are no symptoms. To look for lice, regularly check behind your children’s ears and their entire head, hair by hair from root to tip. Part damp combed hair into thin narrow sections, then run a lice comb through one section at a time. Place comb against the scalp and pull it to the of the hair, checking the teeth after each stroke.

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