It’s that time of the year for kids to be jumping in big piles of leaves and going on exciting hay rides. Although these activities are very enjoyable during these Fall months, we also need to be on the look out for lice which is contagious and spreads very easily. Lice is a very common parasitic insect that lives among the hairs in the scalp and feeds off of tiny amounts of blood drawn from the scalp. Lice is most common in kids 3 years to 12 years and is seen more in girls than boys. Although lice is very annoying and can cause itchy and inflamed scalp they are not dangerous and do not spread disease and can not fly or jump.
There are two stages to lice; eggs and adult. Lice eggs are tiny yellow, tan or brown dots and look like dandruff but can’t be removed by brushing or shaking them off. Stage two is when the eggs hatch and become adult lice. Adult lice are no bigger than a sesame seed and are greyish-white or tan. Although the lice are small and hard to see they are visible to the naked eye. The best way to see them is by parting your child’s hair into small sections and checking for them with a fine tooth comb on the scalp, behind the ears, and around the nape of the neck. A bright light and magnifying glass may also help.
If you find that your child is constantly scratching his/her head or complains of any itchy scalp that won’t go away take them to the doctor as soon as possible. You can also check with the school’s nurse or childcare provider to see if there have been any children treated for lice recently. If your child does have lice you should let your child’s school/childcare provider know immediately and check to see what there return policy is. Do not come into any hair salons and limit close contact with other individuals if at all possible because it is extremely contagious.