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Healthline Connects
Healthline Connects

Nit Pickers Should Get Their Head Examined

Your child returns to school, everything is going fine, and then the note comes home from the school nurse. "Dear parent, the school nurse has determined that little Johnny has a small ecosystem growing in his hair and he is being excluded from school until every nit is nixed." In observance of Head Lice Prevention Month the National Pediculosis Association wants you to know that there are safe ways to control these pesky beasts.

The head lice note is probably the most embarrassing school-related communication a parent or child can receive, but it shouldn't be a scarlet letter. A louse is an equal opportunity parasitic insect that lives in areas where hair grows, sipping on blood from nearby blood vessels in the scalp. Some heads are more susceptible than others and cleanliness has nothing to do with it. Girls get it more than boys and women more than men. It is primarily a head-to-head transmission, but you can also catch it when you share personal items that belong to an infected person. They aren't a danger to anyone and they don't carry disease, but they can be more then a casual nuisance. They itch and can cause irritation and sometimes an infection can develop when the skin is broken.

There are over-the-counter and prescription treatments and a host of strategies to get the nits off the hair shaft.

Join Healthline in discovering how to prevent lice infestation or treat it once the kids (and some adults) drag them home.
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