Health department gives tips to help prevent head lice

MACON COUNTY, Ill. (WAND) – September is National Head Lice Awareness and Prevention Month and the Macon County Health Department is wanting parents to be aware of the insects. 

The department explains, head lice are tiny insects that are commonly found in hair. They feed on human blood and live very close to the scalp. According to officials, head lice do not carry any bacterial or viral diseases. 

Anyone who has hair can get head lice. Officials with the Macon County Health Department explain, head lice aren’t picky, they will nest in adults and children. 

“It doesn’t matter if your hair is squeaky clean or dirty. It’s a myth when people think poor hygiene attracts head lice,” explains Health Educator Emily O’Connell. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s estimated 6 to 12 million people become infested with head lice. That’s why officials with the Macon County Health Department want to make people aware, and help them prevent head lice from entering into their home. 

When searching for head lice, officials explain the eggs are very small and hard to see, but they often appear to have a yellow or white tint to them. They are often confused with dandruff, scabs or hair spray. When head lice are full-grown they will be about the size of a sesame seed and have a tan to grayish-white tent to them. 

Health officials say, if you think your child has head lice, you should call your doctor immediately. It’s better to take all precautions. 

“If you child does have head lice or you think they do, be sure to talk to your doctor. Notify the teacher if they do. That way a note can go out at school and parents can be on the look out,” O’Connell explains. 

There are ways to prevent getting head lice. Health officials explain, avoid head-to-head contact. Also, do not share hats, coats, hair ribbons, combs, brushes or towels. If someone has head lice make sure to not lie on furniture, pillows or stuffed animals that person has laid on. Lastly, always have someone looking through your hair. Health officials say, if your itching a lot it’s always good check. 

If you or your child become infested, make sure to wash all towels, bedding, stuffed animals and clothes in hot water. Health officials say, you can soak brushes and combs in hot water, but it’s best to throw them away and buy new ones. Finally, the health department explains your should always contact your doctor for further help and diagnosis. 

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