Anyone can get head lice.

These tiny wingless parasitic insects do not appear in one group of the population any more than others. They do not select you based on your annual household income, on the clothes that you wear, nor by how clean you are.

Lice are typically transferred by head-to-head contact with someone who is infected. A much less common form of transfer can be through sharing hats, brushes or clothes with someone who has an infestation.

Head lice are about the size of a sesame seed.

When they lose contact with their human host for 24-48 hours, they typically die.

For those that remain on the human head, the itching doesn't usually start until four to six weeks after the lice have found their new home, making it very difficult to catch this early.

The main symptom of having lice is an itchy scalp; however, some do not experience any abnormal itching.

The itching is caused by a reaction to the saliva and inflammation caused by the lice extracting blood from the scalp.

The question on every parent's mind is, how do you get rid of them?

Over-the-counter treatments from the pharmacy are good for removing live lice, which will come out fairly easily.

The nits are much harder to remove. The female louse lays her eggs by using a very sticky saliva to attach them to the hair strand.

Very detailed and tedious combing through the hair with a nit comb is the only way to remove the eggs effectively, and this may take hours depending on the severity of the infestation.

Remember, lice do not live more than 48 hours when they are removed from a human head, so vigorous cleaning efforts are not completely necessary.

It is a good idea to vacuum all the rugs and carpets in your home and launder all of your sheets and towels in very hot water (130 degrees).

Dry all of your laundry on hot heat for more than 30 minutes.

Remove everything that comes in contact with the head, including hair brushes or combs, hats, and hair accessories, from contact for three to four days and store them in the freezer to destroy any lice that may be present.

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