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Head Lice

Lice is a parasitic insect that can be found on the head, eyebrows, and eyelashes of people. They can also be found in the bedding or clothing of infested persons. Head lice feed on human blood several times a day and live close to the human scalp. Because head lice are not known to spread disease, management and treatment of head lice does not fall under our scope of services.

Contact Info

Our public health nurses can perform a brief, head check exam to identify the presence of lice or nits. A thorough follow-up head check must be done following treatment. Parents or guardians are responsible for treating and controlling lice. 

The most common symptom of head lice is itching, although light infestations may not cause itching so don’t rely on itching alone as a definitive diagnostic sign. The itching is a result of the lice saliva that builds up on the scalp, not the lice bite, which cannot be felt. Look for nites (eggs) on the hair shaft. They are numerous and stationary and look like a tear-shaped speck ranging in color from white, yellowish or brown. They are most commonly found around the nape of the neck and ears where it is warmest. Finding numerous nits within 6 mm of the scalp is highly suggestive of active infestation. Finding nits more than 6 mm from the scalp could be indicative of previous infestation, but still require treatment.    The louse is more difficult to spot as they move quickly and hide in the hair. They are about the size of a sesame seed and range in color from cream to black. They do not jump or fly. 

When a child is infested with head lice or nits, all contacts and/or classmates who sit within touching distance should be promptly examined. If more children are found to be infested, all the students in these classrooms should be examined.

Removing Lice from Your Home

Once treatment begins, it’s important to clean your home and objects to eliminate the chain of transmission of lice. Things like bedding, brushes, hats, scarves, helmets, combs, upholstered furniture, pillows and cushions, towels, clothing, costumes and masks, stuffed animals, dolls, cloth-covered toys, and carpeting need to be thoroughly cleaned.  Keep in mind that lice can only live off of the human head for 1-2 days. Lice cannot live on pets and animals, but they can be temporarily carried by them. 

  • Vacuum floors, rugs, pillows and upholstered furniture.
  • Machine wash in hot water (130 degrees F) OR place in a freezer overnight all clothing, linen, and cloth toys that the infested person might have worn or handled 48 hours before treatment began. 
  • For items that cannot be machine washed, machine dry them at the hottest setting for at least 20 minutes.
  • Other items may be dry-cleaned (please call the dry cleaner and follow all recommended precautions), carefully vacuumed, placed in a freezer overnight, or sealed in plastic bags for 2 weeks. 
  • Combs and brushes should be soaked in hot water (130 degrees F) for one hour. 

School personnel are responsible for vacuuming infested classrooms and collecting and removing loose articles of clothing as well as rugs, blankets or pillows used for naps or activities. 

Please call 419-282-4357 to schedule a head exam for lice.


Head Lice School Pamphlet