Prevention and Control
Head lice are spread most commonly by direct head-to-head (hair-to-hair) contact. However, much less frequently they are spread by sharing clothing or belongings onto which lice have crawled or nits attached to shed hairs may have fallen. Head lice survive less than 1-2 days if they fall off a person and cannot feed; nits cannot hatch and usually die within a week if they are not kept at the same temperature as that found close to the scalp.
The following are steps that can be taken to help prevent and control the spread of head lice:
- Avoid head-to-head contact
- Do not share things such as hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, or hair ties.
- Do not share combs, brushes, or towels. Disinfect combs and brushes used by an infected person by boiling them in water for 5-10 minutes.
- Do not lie on beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that may have recently been in contact with an infected person.
- Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that an infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using hot water (130 degrees) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry cleaned or sealed in a plastic garbage bag and stored for 2 weeks.
- Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay.
To help prevent a head lice outbreak in a community, school or camp, children can be taught to avoid activities that may spread head lice.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention September 2019
For more information on prevention and treatment, please contact your child’s school nurse or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website; https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/index.html