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Lice and going back to school

Head Lice are tiny insects that feed on blood from the human scalp, (shudder). A head lice infestation isn't a sign of poor personal hygiene or an unclean living environment. Head lice don't carry bacterial or viral infectious diseases. In the United States, cases of head lice most often occur in children in preschool through middle school. It's difficult to prevent the spread of head lice among children in child care facilities and schools because there is so much close contact. Head lice crawl, but they cannot jump or fly. Most often transmission of a head louse from one person to another is by direct contact. Therefore, transmission is most often within a family or among children who ave close contact at school or play. The chance of indirect transmission from personal items is slight. However, it is generally a good practice for children to hang their garments on a separate hook from other children's garments and not to share combs, brushes, hats and scarves. W worry about head lice transmission is not considered a good reason to avoid sharing protective headgear for sports and bicycling when sharing is necessary. If you suspect your child may have lice see a health professional before treating.

Common signs and symptoms can include:

* Itching: Itching on the scalp, neck and ears is the most common symptom. This is a allergic reaction to louse saliva. When a person has an infestation for the first time, itching may not occur of tow to six weeks after infestation.

* Lice on Scalp: Lice may be visible but are difficult to spot because they're small, avoid light and move quickly.

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