Health Tip: Steps to
(HealthDay News) -- If your child comes home from school
scratching his head, lice may be finding a home in his
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
- 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
- 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.
© 2005 The Atlanta