The Prevention of Head Lice for Foster Parents, Youth and Sibling Groups


Head lice are parasitic insects called Pediculus humanus capitis. They are small and wingless parasitic insects that are found in human hairs. Outbreaks of head lice are most common in school-aged children. The insect spends its entire life on human hair and feeds exclusively on blood.

In order for them to survive and thrive, they need just 2 things; warmth and tiny amounts of blood from the head. When they bite, their saliva leaves small deposits that can cause an allergic reaction on the surface of the scalp of head. This reaction appears as small raised and reddish areas of head skin that become extremely itchy.

Head lice can spread as long as lice or eggs remain alive on the infested person or clothing. It can also be spread by sharing combs, hats and other objects such as carpet, car seats and bedding. Especially, it is common during childhood.

Eggs(nits) will look like small white or yellow-brown specks and be firmly attached to the hair near the scalp. The easiest place to find them is at the hair line at the back of the neck or behind the ears. Nits are removed by combing the hair with a fine-tooth comb or by pulling them out one by one.

The point to remember is that head lice are a nuisance and not a health risk. Anyone who comes in head-to-head contact with someone who already has head lice is at greatest risk.

Anyone of any age and any social class can get head lice. Epidemics of head lice are common among school-age children from all class backgrounds in all parts of the United States.There are 3 steps in treating head lice for kids.

1. Remove the Lice
Head lice treatments come in a variety of forms. Make sure parents follow the directions carefully for the full amount of time. All household members should be examined for head lice. While lice treatments kill live lice, the products do not kill all the eggs. Therefore, the next step is required.
2. Comb out the Nits
Nits can be combed out after the treatment with a fine toothed metal comb. Combing out can be difficult and time consuming with patience. Continue to check a kid’s hair daily for 3 weeks after the treatment. It is critical for parents to brush the hair from the scalp to the ends in very small sections at a time.
3. Prevent Lice from Spreading
The best remedy for head lice is prevention. The head lice prevention is also a very simple practice. Parents need to wash clothes, towels, hats and bed lines in hot water and dry on high heat. It is important to soak combs and brushes in boiling hot water for 5-10 minutes. Pets do not get lice and should not be treated.

Also, parents should not spray pesticides in the house because pesticides can expose children to dangerous chemicals. Items that can not be washed like stuffed animals and toys can be placed in a plastic bag for 3 weeks by which time any live lice would die.

Head lice are generally spread through direct head-to-head contact with an infested person by sharing bedding or clothing. The prevention of head lice is very critical since they spread very readily, and anyone can get them to come into contact with those infected. Even by touching their clothing or bed linens can become infected.

To see the lice on head, parents should look at the extremely root of the hair in clear lights. Cleaning the house Head lice can’t live for more than 24 hours off the human body. Suspected cases of head lice will be referred to trained school staff to check the head for live lice. Children with evidence of live head lice will be excluded from school. A standardized management of head lice is an effort to keep children in school lice and nit free.