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Health Tip: Steps to Prevent Lice

(HealthDay News) -- If your child comes home from school scratching his head, lice may be finding a home in his hair.

Anyone can get head lice -- mainly from head-to-head contact or sharing hats, brushes or head rests. But you can take these risk-reducing precautions, courtesy of the National Pediculosis Association:

  • Check all family members for lice and nits (lice eggs) at least once a week. Only those infested should be treated. Lice are reddish-brown wingless insects, nits are grayish-white, always oval shaped, and are glued at an angle to the side of the hair shaft.
  • Be sure not to confuse nits with hair debris such as bright irregularly shaped clumps of dandruff. Lice treatment is not appropriate for hair debris.
  • Consult your pharmacist or physician before using lice treatment pesticides when the person involved is pregnant, nursing, has allergies, asthma or epilepsy. Never use a pesticide on or near the eyes.
  • All lice-killing products are pesticides. If you choose to buy an over-the-counter treatment, follow the directions carefully and with caution. Manual removal always is a safe alternative.
  • Use the product over the sink, not in the tub or shower. Always keep the eyes covered.
  • Separate hair in sections and remove all attached nits with a comb, baby safety scissors, or your fingernails.
  • Wash bedding and recently worn clothing in hot water and dry in a hot dryer. Combs and brushes may be soaked in hot water for 10 minutes.
  • Avoid lice sprays. Vacuuming is the safest and best way to remove lice or hairs with attached nits from upholstered furniture, rugs, stuffed animals and car seats.

-- Nancyann Rella

Copyright © 2005 ScoutNews, LLC.


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