How did my child get head lice?

Children tend to play in close proximity to each other, it is easy for the lice to spread in playgroups, schools, camps, hair salons, slumber parties, clubs, and at the playground. Head lice come from head-to-head contact with an infested person or through contact with their personal belongings. Since lice do not jump, hop, or fly, the only way for them to move is by crawling. The lice crawled over from an infected child’s strand of hair onto your child’s hair. The louse then used its claws to grasp on tight to the hair shaft.

Your child may have also have had contact with a lice-infested item such as a comb, brush, towel, bed, couch, pillow, carpet, stuffed animal, hat, coat, sports uniform, helmet, or clothing.

What do lice and nits (eggs) look like?

There’s no doubt about it. Lice and nits (eggs) are tiny bugs that if left untreated can wreak emotional havoc.  They aren’t harmful to your health- so if you see one it’s perfectly safe and normal to pull it off the hair strand. In fact, getting it off the head will allow you to better inspect and identify whether it’s lice or not.

A general rule of thumb: If it moves when touched, it’s not a nit (egg). Nits are stuck like glue to the hair shaft and won’t change position or fall off the head when touched.

Dandruff flakes, hair product, and random debris will typically move when touched and are often confused for Lice. Naturally there’s no need for treatment if you’re already lice free.   Lice are typically found holding onto the hair above the ears, the nape of the neck, or the crown of the head. Nits are typically found connected to the hair shaft within a quarter inch of the scalp.



What are head lice and nits?

Head lice, medically known as Pediculosis capitis, are parasitic insects that live on the human scalp. They have six legs with claws designed to grasp onto the hair shaft. Head lice vary in color from light to dark brown. After a blood meal, they’re dark brown. However, as the blood digests, the color continues to lighten. Adult lice are about the size of a sesame seed. Head lice develop in three stages: nit, nymph, and adult louse. The adult female louse lays about six to ten eggs each day. Nits are the oval-shaped lice eggs that the female louse lays. Nits can be lighter or darker shades of brown or gray in color, and they are cemented to the hair shaft. Nits hatch into a nymph or baby louse within one week. A week later, the nymph becomes an adult louse. Head lice feed on human blood, which results in severe itching. Head lice is very common among school children. By checking your child’s head every couple of weeks, you will help prevent the headache of a lice infestation in your home.

What are the symptoms of head lice?

The most obvious sign of head lice is the presence of lice and nits on the head. Inspect your child’s hair and scalp. Check for nits behind the ears, on the crown of the head, and at the nape of the neck.

The following three symptoms may indicate a head lice infestation:

Itching – Itching is usually the first sign that lice may be present. It is also the most common lice symptom. Children may be itching only slightly more than usual or you may notice vigorous and frequent itching.

Red Sores on Scalp – Sometimes, small red sores form on the scalp due to scratching after being bitten by the louse.

Tickling Feeling in Hair – Your child may complain that someone is “tickling him on his hair.” This is the louse crawling around.

Where do head lice come from?

Head lice come from other head lice, just like any other species on this planet. It’s that simple. The lice migrate from head to head so that they can find a blood meal. Head lice have been around since the beginning of time. Dried up head lice and eggs have been found on Egyptian mummies.

What is the required follow-up after a professional treatment?

Use our Lice Prevention Gel after treatment on Day 4 to prevent infestation. If you’d like to significantly decrease your chances of getting lice in the future, we highly recommend using our Lice Wits Prevention Spray daily and our Lice Wits Prevention Shampoo once a week to prevent re-infestation.

I’m still itchy, why?

The itchiness is an allergic reaction to the saliva of the bugs feeding. It could take up to a week to subside, depending on the sensitivity. Continued itchiness could be caused by over-combing of the scalp with a nit comb, reaction to a new hair product, or “just thinking about it.”

My daughter was treated recently, no one else in my family is ‘itchy’. Should I have them checked anyway?

Yes. Absolutely! In fact, family head checks are FREE if a family member receives treatment. We highly recommend checking everyone in the family so that lice doesn’t continue to spread among family members. Itchiness from lice only affects about 50% of people, so it’s very possible to have a lice infestation without being itchy.

I think I found lice again on my child’s head, what should I do?

Take a deep breath. Often times what is thought to be lice turns out to be skin flakes (dandruff), hair product, or random debris. If you’re absolutely certain it is a louse or a nit, grab it! If you’re still uncertain, grab it anyways!

If you haven’t done so already, use the provided Lice Prevention Gel on Day 4.

Instructions: Apply to dry hair and scalp until wet. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Attend your scheduled follow up appointment. If you’re still concerned after the follow-up, give us a call and let’s talk about it. We’ll often times ask you to pull the offending louse or nit completely off the hair and take a picture of it. If confirmed, we’ll schedule an appointment and ask you to please come back.

My child has lice, I’m embarrassed to tell my family and friends. Who should I tell?

It’s important to notify everyone in your close circle to prevent a re-infestation. Most people are grateful that they were notified and can get their child checked for lice.

My son/daughter plays sports and they sometimes share hats or helmets, is that how my child got lice?

Head to head and hair to hair contact is the most likely way to spread lice. Not sharing any hair or head accessories is a good habit to help prevent any possibility of spreading lice.

My daughter wears her hair in a braid or a bun every day, we use prevention spray, and I clean and vacuum every day. How could she get lice again?

Chances are your daughter is in close contact with someone who may have a severe case of lice, and might not be aware of it. It’s important to notify her circle of friends that there has been a lice infestation and that treatment may be needed.

Can my pets get lice?

No, lice is “species specific”. Dogs and cats can not get lice.

How do I tell the difference between head lice and dandruff?

Head lice are parasites that live on the human head. Their bites cause an itchy scalp. Dandruff, a skin condition, causes flaking of the skin and a slightly itchy scalp. Many people are confused about the difference between head lice and dandruff. If they see something white on the scalp they immediately assume it is head lice. Slow down! It may just be dandruff. It’s simple to tell the difference.

Lice vs Dandruff — 4 simple ways to tell them apart:

Removability– Dandruff brushes off the hair quickly and easily. Nits aren’t easily removed or picked off. Nits are firmly attached to the hair. That’s because the female louse glues the egg onto the hair shaft.

Appearance– Nits are tiny and oval shaped. Their color can be lighter or darker shades of brown or gray. Dandruff is larger and really white in color. Also, while dandruff particles come in various sizes, nits are generally uniform in size.

Location– Nits like warm spots on the scalp. They are commonly found close to the scalp at the nape of the neck and behind the ears. You’ll find dandruff flakes all over the head as they don’t have any particular preferences on the scalp.

Itchiness– Dandruff are mildly itchy. Head lice and nits are really itchy. Think, “scratching the head with two hands” itchy! A really easy way to determine if it is lice or dandruff is to use a nit comb. Wet the hair and start combing. If you see white flakes coming off easily then you just have dandruff. If you notice tiny oval shaped things in the hair that are not coming off easily then you probably have nits. If you have detected head lice, you will need to proceed with lice treatment. If you still have doubt, give us a call and let’s schedule an appointment for a quick screening just to be absolutely sure.

I am a camp administrator, how can I prevent a head lice infestation in my camp this summer?

Hero Lice Clinics has initiated a keep lice out of camp campaign.

I am a school administrator, how can I prevent a head lice outbreak?

Keeping lice out of school requires the joint effort of the school and home. Prevent a head lice infestation by taking the following preventative measures:

• Call Hero Lice Clinics to schedule routine lice screenings in your school. By screening every student a few times a year you can avoid serious lice infestation in your school. As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

•Use a proactive educational program to provide a basic understanding of head lice, modes of transmission, prevention techniques, and the importance of safe and effective treatment.

•Early detection for head lice and nits plays a pivotal role in head lice management. Instruct parents to examine their children for head lice frequently.

•Assign individual cubbies to store hats and scarves separately, and wall hooks to store coats. Audio headsets and helmets should be cleaned with a damp cloth after each use.

•Frequently vacuum carpeted or upholstered areas, and wipe down mats with a damp cloth.

•Bus drivers should wipe down school bus seats with a damp cloth or vacuum upholstered seats.

How can I be sure the lice are gone?

Part of the stress of having lice is not knowing when the lice are finally gone. Will you have to keep checking for lice in your child’s hair forever? Fortunately, you will not! Follow these clear guidelines to be absolutely sure that those lice are completely wiped out. A cluster of nits is defined as six or seven nits in one area. If you find a cluster of nits close to the scalp, which is an indication that your child may still have live lice on her head. Finding stray nits on the head is not an indication of live lice. Lice frequently lay the nits in clusters. Freshly laid nits will be near the scalp. As the hair grows, the older nits move further from the scalp. If the nits you are finding are not near the scalp, that means they are old nits. Nits normally hatch in 7 to 10 days. Nits never take more than two weeks to hatch. If the nits didn’t hatch after two weeks, they never will. Old nits are dead nits. You can be certain that your child is lice free when you have not found any live lice or clusters of nits for two weeks.

I can’t afford to have my whole family professionally treated. What should I do?

We suggest purchasing our Lice Wits At-Home Treatment Kit, household spray, and prevention spray. Our video tutorial on self comb out will be available soon.


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