As kids head back to school there is one unpleasant consequence that plague many Nebraska families – head lice. Dr. Krista Lauer is the medical director of Lice Clinics of America and says the good news is they are not dangerous and can be easily treated.
Dr. Lauer says, “They don’t spread diseases. They don’t cause any long term medical issues. They are really just a nuisance. There are millions of head lice infestations every year in the United States, mainly in pre-school and elementary age children because of the way head lice are transferred and they transfer by direct head-to-head contact so it is really just chance. It has nothing to do with personal hygiene or what school you go to.”
Dr. Lauer says head lice can only live on the human head, close to the scalp. You don’t need to bag your children’s stuffed toys and keep them in your garage for weeks. Lice to not infest furniture or carpet. Lice are adapted to cling to human hair and they can’t live anywhere else. You cannot get head lice from your pets.
When it comes to prevention, Dr. Lauer says be aware. Know that it is common, can happen to everyone and if they do come into the household the chances of them spreading is high. Those with long hair should wear it in a bun or a braid to reduce the chance of contact. However, it is important to treat your child immediately to prevent the spread.
Dr. Lauer says Lice Clinics of America use heat to dehydrate and kill the lice. Treatments take about an hour. The closest clinics to Nebraska are located in Kansas, Missouri and Colorado. A home kit is available online. There are also over-the-counter products that can be used to get rid of lice.