The new school year has begun in many parts of the state.  Students and parents are excited and curious as to what this new school year will bring.  However, one thing they definitely aren't excited about are Head Lice.

Head Lice are a common problem and infestations can be so widespread that September has been named National Head Lice Prevention Month. 

Head Lice are transferred from person to person by sharing certain items such as combs, brushes, caps, clothing, etc., or through personal contact.  Children often play with each other and share many of these items while at school.  Close contact is the primary avenue of Head Lice spreading from host to host, so you can see why it's important to teach children not to share items such as hats, brushes and combs with other classmates.

August through November is normally the time when lice are transmitted.  Infestations are wide spread usually by December and January.  Therefore, it's important to inspected children weekly for Head Lice during the months of August through November.  

On occasion, lice may fall off their host onto another surface; however, they cannot survive off a human for more than 24 hours.  They want to remain on their host in order to survive.

Head Lice eggs are called nits.  They are very tiny, white, oval and cylindrical in  shape.  Nits are glued by the female to the hairs near the scalp normally behind the ears and along the back of the neck.  A special fine-toothed louse comb must be used to remove nits.  This is done by combing from the root to the tip of the hair and repeating until the entire scalp has been combed several times.  A regular plastic comb will not remove nits.

One female louse will lay 6-7 eggs each day.  A child could have several dozen lice living on his/her head in just a few weeks.  You can see why weekly inspections during the school year are so important.

There are several over-the-counter products that can be applied to the scalp for the control of Head Lice, but it's important to note that nit removal is the key. This is because up to 80% of nits survive control products applied to the scalp.

Head Lice are a medical problem.  There's no application that can be performed by a pest control company for the control of Head Lice.

Remember, children that are taught not to share personal belongings (such as hats, brushes and combs) with other classmates and have weekly inspections performed are less likely to experience Head Lice during the school year.