Children and lice

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:45 pm
Next to the common cold, lice are the most common communicable disease among children. The first indication of head lice is when a child persistently scratches the scalp, especially behind the ears and at the base of the neck. You can check for lice by parting the hair in tiny sections and examining the scalp and surrounding hair. Look for small, grayish 'nits' at the hair shaft. If your child does have lice, be sure to check everyone at home who's had contact with him or her. Alert the school or daycare, so they can control the spread of the disease. Lice usually spreads from head to head by physical contact, like sharing brushes, hats, and other things that touch someone else's hair. It's not true that you can catch lice from animals; lice don't like dogs and cats, just people. There are special shampoos you can use to get rid of your child's lice. Make sure to buy enough shampoo to treat your child or children adequately. You'll need to buy more depending on the number of children requiring treatment and the length of the hair. Wearing gloves can help prevent the spread of the lice. Throw away brushes and combs or soak them in hot water and lice shampoo for about an hour. Make sure to wash all linens and vacuum affected areas. Lice can live about two days without a human head, so take precautions to clean your environment as well as treat the child's hair. Check to make sure the eggs and lice are gone before discontinuing treatment.

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