Staindrop CE Primary School and Pre-School
Learning, Laughter & Friendship
Head Teacher: Mr S Whelerton
Acting Deputy Head: Mrs C Harland
Telephone: 01833 660 334
Head lice are parasitic insects that live in the hair and scalp of humans. The scientific name for head louse is Pediculus humanus capitis. Another name for infestation with head lice is pediculosis.
Head lice develop in three forms: nits, nymphs, and adults.
Nits: Nits are head lice eggs. They are hard to see and are often mistaken for dandruff or droplets of hairspray. Nits are found firmly attached to the hair shaft. They are oval and usually yellow to white. Nits take about 1 week to hatch.
Nymphs: Nits hatch into nymphs. Nymphs are immature adult head lice. Nymphs mature into adults about 7 days after hatching. To live, nymphs must feed on blood.
Adults: An adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, has six legs, and is tan to greyish- white. In persons with dark hair, adult lice will look darker. Adult lice can live up to 30 days on a person’s head. To live, adult lice need to feed on blood. If a louse falls off a person, it dies within 2 days.
Head lice infestations occur worldwide.
Head lice are spread easily from person to person by direct contact. People can get head lice by:
Head lice infestation is diagnosed by looking closely through the hair and scalp for nits, nymphs, or adult lice.
Nits are the easiest to see. They are found “glued” to the hair shaft. Unlike dandruff or hairspray, they will not slide along a strand of hair. If you find nits more than 1/4 inch from the scalp, the infection is probably an old one.
Nymphs and adults can be hard to find; there are usually few of them, and they can move quickly from searching fingers. If lice are seen, finding nits close to the scalp confirms that a person is infested.
If you are not sure if a person has head lice, the diagnosis should be made by the local health department or a health-care provider, school nurse, or agricultural extension service worker.
Anyone can get head lice. Pre-school- and elementary-school-aged children and their families are infested most often. Girls get head lice more often than boys, and women more often than men.
Scratching can lead to skin sores and skin infections.
Getting rid of head lice requires treating the individual, the family, and the household.
Treat the individual and the family — This requires using an over-the-counter or prescription lice- killing medicine. Treat only persons who are infested. Remember that all lice-killing products are pesticides. Follow these treatment steps:
Treat the household:
Head lice is a very common condition, especially among children ages 3-10. As many as 6 million to 12 million people worldwide get head lice each year. Outbreaks of head lice occur often in schools and group settings worldwide.
Yes. Head lice is an increasing problem because lice-killing medicines are becoming less effective.