Head Lice

Head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis) have been living on the scalps of humans for thousands of years.

From the time of ancient Greece and Egypt, through the middle-ages and up to the present, the problem of head lice infestations has continued. Head lice are present in our communities most of the time.

There are no known health risks from head lice, yet head lice may cause distractions, poor self-esteem and hesitancy to participate fully in school and/or recreational activities. Children and their families may feel embarrassed, angry, frustrated, guilty or ashamed that they are infested with head lice.

Head lice can infest all people, regardless of age, race, socioeconomic status or hygiene practices. It is probable that head lice will never be eliminated completely; however, knowing the facts about head lice transmission, treatment and management will help to ensure the best control of infestations.

This manual was developed to provide information about head lice, prevention actions, treatment options and guidelines appropriate for use in the home, child-care settings, schools and communities.

There have been many changes in the recommended approaches regarding screening for and the management of head lice, including research finding that no-nit policies are ineffective in stopping transmission of head lice. Utilizing the 2010 recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as the primary reference and resource, this manual is designed to provide clarification of those recommendations for effective treatment and management of head lice.

At the end of this manual is a page discussing myths and facts, a fact sheet entitled “Head Lice (Pediculosiscapitis)” and a Quick Guide. These pages may be reproduced and given to parents or others trying to get rid of head lice.

Download the complete handbook here.