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Health Services » Head Lice

Head Lice

Anyone can get head lice; it has nothing to do with cleanliness.  Lice are spread through the sharing of combs, brushes, hats, helmets, sleeping bags, pillows, close head-to-head contact, backs of upholstery and car seats, and stuffed animals.  Lice do not jump or fly, nor do they survive on animals.  Lice are brownish in color and they stay close to the scalp.  Nits are small, white oval-shaped eggs that “stick” to the hair shaft, especially behind the ears, at the crown of the head, and the nape of the neck.  Special shampoos are needed to kill lice and nits.

The head louse is a parasite; it needs a person for nourishment.  It is a small, wingless insect that feeds at the scalp.  This feeding causes persistent itching.  Adult female lice attach their eggs, called nits, to the hair shaft close to the scalp.  Eggs hatch within seven to ten days, and the new lice reach adulthood in about 2 weeks.  Head lice can survive away from the human body for about 24 hours; nits survive up to 10 days.

Parents, please check your child’s head on a regular basis.  Please let the school office know if you find lice, as we have a procedure to follow.  The control of lice needs to be started at home with regular head checks and, if needed, following the complete treatment program below. 

Treatment for Head Lice:

  1. Use a lice treatment. Follow label directions carefully.  Lice treatment products are available at your local pharmacy, or you can check with your child’s pediatrician.
  2. Remove nits with a lice comb; a metal comb is best. Separate hair into 1-inch sections and comb each section with the lice comb.  It is easier to comb wet hair.  Removal of nits prevents reinfestation. 
  3. Wash bedding in hot water and use the hot drying cycle for at least 20 minutes. Combs, brushes, and hair clips should be cleaned by soaking them in hot water for at least 10 minutes.
  4. Vacuum carpets, rugs, upholstery, mattresses, furniture, car seats, etc.
  5. Stuffed animals and other items that cannot be cleaned or placed in the dryer should be sealed tightly in a plastic bag and stored for at least 2 weeks.
  6. Check your child’s head thoroughly every day for 2 weeks after treatment and comb out any nits. Also, check the heads of all family members.
  7. Follow through with any recommended second treatment in seven to ten days.
  8. Let your school, day care, & the parents of your child’s playmates know.




If you have any questions, please contact Moreland School District Nurses @ (408) 874-2900.


California Department of Public Health: Head Lice Information for Parents