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Head Lice

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​Head Lice

Dr. Heidi Johnson, Boys Town Pediatrics

Head lice are a small bug that kind of infests your hair and then those little bugs lay eggs or nits right along the hair shaft.

You usually get head lice from another kid. That's why kids get it so frequently. They're up head to head, running into each other, sharing hair brushes, sharing hats, those kinds of things.

What are the symptoms of head lice?

They'll have an itchy head, that's kind of the first symptom. That's the bugs moving around in their hair. Then you may see bugs in their hair and if you look closely you'll see the nits along the hair shaft as well.

What are the treatment options for head lice?

There are lots of over-the-counter shampoos to use for head lice. You can shampoo their hair and rinse it out. It is also really important that you treat everything around them, their bedding, their stuffed animals, their clothing and the furniture in your house.

There are sprays that can be used for things that can't be washed, like your couch. For their bedding, it's important to wash it hot water and even those stuffed animals in the bed with them. It's important to get all of those because the head lice can be on their bedding and they can re-infest their heads.

How long should parents treat for head lice?

When a head lice lays an egg it takes eight days for that egg to hatch. The shampoos usually don't kill off the eggs so a lot of times we'll have to do a second treatment about a week later to kill off those later bugs we may have missed.

It's also important to go through your child's hair and pull out those eggs after you treat them with shampoo.

How can head lice be prevented?

The best ways to prevent head lice is to teach your kids good hygiene, making sure that they're not sharing hats, not sharing hair brushes, and not getting into close contact with other kids.

Other than that, there isn't a lot of great ways to prevent the head lice.

​Head lice are tiny, wingless parasitic insects that live in human hair.  Dr. Heidi Johnson, pediatrician with Boys Town Pediatrics, discusses head lice and explains how parents can get rid of them if their child brings them home.

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