Head lice are small insects that live in human hair and feed on blood.
Lice glue their eggs (also known as "nits") to hair so they cannot be brushed or shaken off easily. Lice make a person's head very itchy and cause small red bumps on the scalp, neck and shoulders. Head lice are easily spread from one person to another by physical contact or by shared personal articles such as combs, hair brushes, hats, scarves or hair ribbons. Dogs, cats and other pets do not play a role in the transmission of human lice.
If you believe you or your child has lice or has been exposed to lice, you should inspect your head and your child's head daily, with particular attention to the scalp, neckline and behind the ears where lice like to lay their eggs. If you find lice or nits, there are several easily available treatments including using nit combs, which are available at your local pharmacy. If home treatments don't work, you may want to contact your health provider.
About Head Lice
Resources for Parents
- Healthy Outlook: Treat Head Lice Quickly, Thoroughly
- A Parent's Guide to Head Lice | Spanish (PDF) - CA Dept. of Public Health
Resources for Schools
- Controlling Head Lice (PDF)
- Guidelines on Head Lice Prevention and Control for School Districts and Child Care Facilities - CDPH