10 Things to Know About Head Lice

What to Know About Head Lice

They hide from the light. They feed on your blood. No, they're not the villains in the latest vampire flick—they're head lice. These tiny creatures, about the size of a sesame seed, don't cause lasting damage or carry any diseases. Still, most of us would rather skip an itchy, annoying infestation.

Medically Reviewed By: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS | Last Review Date:

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Medical References

  1. Head Lice, American Academy of Family Physicians, Dec. 10, 2010 (http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/head-lice.printerview.all.html);
  2. Drugs@FDA: Sklice, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/drugsatfda/index.cfm?fuseaction=Search.DrugDetails);
  3. Biology, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Nov. 2, 2010 (http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/biology.html);
  4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 2, 2010 (http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/gen_info/faqs.html);
  5. Treatment Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 2, 2010 (http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/gen_info/faqs_treat.html);
  6. Prevention & Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 2, 2010 (http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/prevent.html);
  7. Treatment: General Guidelines, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 2, 2010 (http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/treatment.html);
  8. Treating Head Lice, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, April 16, 2012 (http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm171730.htm);
  9. Contagious Health Problems in Schools, American Academy of Pediatrics, Dec. 30, 2011 (http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/gradeschool/school/pages/Contagious-Health-Proble...;
  10. Malathion Topical, U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, Feb. 15, 2012 (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a611010.html);
  11. Benzyl Alcohol Topical, U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, Feb. 15, 2012 (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a611011.html);
  12. Head Lice, U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, Feb. 1, 2012 (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000840.htm);
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Learning About Lice

5 Steps to Combing for Head Lice

Combing for head lice is an important part of controlling head lice. Learn how to do a head lice comb-through correctly.

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