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. There is no disease risk from head lice, they are a nuisance. 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
- Communicable Disease Guide for Schools and Child Care Settings
- Guidelines on Head Lice Prevention and Control for School Districts and Child Care Facilities - CDPH
Resources for Parents
- A Parent's Guide to Head Lice | Spanish - CA Dept. of Public Health