Head Lice

Pediculosis, also known as head lice, is caused by tiny wingless insects that only live on a human scalp.  Head lice are about the size of a sesame seed.  Nits are the eggs of head lice, they are small oval shaped and whitish-gray eggs in color.  A person gets head lice by coming in direct contact with another individual that has head lice or their belongings.  Head lice do NOT hop, jump or fly.  Head lice are annoying, however they are not life threatening.  They do require effort to get rid of them.  Time, effort and persistence will pay off.

The Facts about Common Misconceptions:

  • Poor hygiene and dirt do not cause head lice.
  • Lice actually prefer clean environments.
  • Pets do not spread head lice.
  • Some people do not itch.

What do I do if my child has head lice?

  • Make sure your child actually has head lice.
  • Start treatment to kill the live lice
    • Many people first try a lice killing shampoo or crème rinse.  Most of these products contain a pesticide and must be used very carefully.  Additionally, you can use olive oil to smother the live lice; see the Sawyer Mac head lice treatment for reference.
  • Clean the home environment.
    • Wash clothes and bed linens in hot water and dry for 20 minutes in a hot dyer.
    • Use a vacuum to remove nits from furniture, rugs, and car seats.
    • Put pillows, toys, and other items that cannot be washed in a sealed bag for 10 days.
    • Soak brushes and combs in hot (not boiling) water for 10 minutes.
  • Check for and get rid of the nits.
    • In bright light, separate the hair into small sections.  Remove all attached nits.  This step should be done daily until there are no more nits.

*For a persistent case of head lice, olive oil will smother lice; refer to the Sawyer Mac head lice treatment.

*Please note that CDC head lice treatment does NOT recommend the use of sprays to get rid of lice.

Schools and Head Lice

All the schools in the county work with the Auglaize County Health Department and follow the same policy in dealing with head lice.