Preschoolers and elementary students have a new culprit to deal with these days: head lice. Head lice are parasitic, wingless insects that live in the heads or hair of humans and survive by feeding on blood. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), having head lice is very common; as many as 6-12 million people worldwide get head lice each year, and children between the ages of 3 and 10 and their families are infested most often.
Head lice affect people from all income and social levels. Anyone can get head lice, no matter how often you wash your hair or how often you bathe.
Children get head lice several different ways, but usually through contact with an infested person. Most common contacts are during play time at school and at home; by wearing infested clothing such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms and hair accessories; by using infested combs brushes or towels; or by lying on a bed, couch, pillow, carpet or stuffed animal, head rest or car seat that has recently been in contact with an infested person.
Preventative measures can be taken to decrease your child’s risk of getting lice, and these measures should be communicated with your children before they enroll in school.
The National Pediculosis Association recommends the following: