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Head Lice – Advice on Lice

Checklist PDF version

Parent Checklist

Treating family members

  1. Check all family members often (weekly) to identify signs of head lice as early as possible. Look for adult head lice, and nits (eggs) attached close to the scalp.
  2. Treat everyone in the family who has head lice and nits. Treatment is available from a pharmacy, talk to a pharmacist before purchasing.
  3. Remove head lice and nits from hair using your finger tips or head lice comb every day until there are no more nits present(natural light works best).
    a. Separate hair into sections
    b. Check each section of the head closely before moving on (remember to pay attention to the ears, forehead, and base of neck)
    c. Dispose of head lice/nits carefully (eg. paper/plastic bag)

Tip: To make nit removal easier, try sitting your child in front of a TV program or movie.

Treating the home

  1. Wash all used clothes and bedding in hot water,  or dry in a hot dryer.
  2. Put items that cannot be washed in hot water in a plastic sealed bag for 2 weeks (eg. stuffed animals, pillows, backpacks, comforters, hats, etc.)
  3. Put all combs, brushes and hair accessories in hot, soapy water (Tip: trying filling a bathtub or sink with hot soapy water)
  4. Vacuum chairs, couches and carpets that have been used within the last few days.
  5. Vacuum all cloth surfaces and carpets in vehicles used within the last few days (including car seats or booster seats)
  6. Report any new cases of head lice to your school, day care centres, or any after-school activities to avoid spreading it to your family and community
  7. Repeat treatment and checklist in 7-10 days. Any nits that were missed would have hatched, therefore, a second treatment is necessary

Frequently Asked Questions by Parents

How do I know my child may have head lice?

Common signs of head lice are:

  • Ticking feeling in the hair
  • Frequent itching
  • Sores on the scalp from scratching

What do head lice and nits look like?

  • When looking for head lice, you might see an adult louse but it is more common to see nits (eggs)
  • Adult louse: tiny insect the size of a sesame seed that has six legs
  • Nit: a cream coloured egg the size of a tip of a pencil that is usually oval and smooth; often confused with dandruff

What’s the difference between dandruff and a nit?

  • Dandruff is easy to remove when touched
  • Nits have to be pulled off with your fingernails

Where on the head are lice and nits commonly found?

  • Around the ears, forehead, and at the base of the neck

What happens if my child has head lice?

  • If your child is at school, the school will notify you and ask you to pick up your child
  • You will have to treat your child before they can go back to school

Do any household pets need to be treated?

  • The only way you can get head lice is from another person
  • Head lice/nits do not live on animals

What are head lice and nits?

  • Tiny insects the size of a sesame seed that live on the heads of humans and feed on their blood
  • The cannot fly or jump, but they crawl very fast
  • The adults lay eggs, which are called nits
  • The nits are glued on the hair close to the scalp, and take about a week to hatch
  • The only way you can get head lice is from another person

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