WTAP @ 5 To Your Health Report: Head Lice

By: Elizabeth Cohen
By: Elizabeth Cohen

You don't need to be embarrassed when you or your children get head lice--you just need to know what to do to get rid of them.

Elizabeth Cohen has more in today's Health Minute.

When Mary Beth Toole had children she never imagined she'd be dealing with head lice.

"Even though you're telling yourself, 'this happens to everyone, it can happen to anyone, it doesn't matter, your socioeconomic status, or how clean you are', you still get that "not us" feeling."

And it's been a problem ever since her oldest started school 4 years ago.

"Head lice are tiny little brown bugs that live on human scalps. They can cause itching, but they don't carry disease."

Lice crawl, they don't fly and they're usually transmitted from direct head to head contact or from pillows or other items that children share.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends first treating with over the counter products, but prescription medications are available.

Then comb through the hair to check for lice and their eggs called nits.
So far this school year Mary Beth's family is lice free, but she tells us how to look.

"Most of the nits and lice you see on the nape of the neck and around the ear, so I'm hitting those areas first."

Then the Tooles slept with olive oil and shower caps to smother any lice they may have missed.

"Don't be embarrassed, it happens to everyone. If you get through life without it happening to you or your children, that's like a miracle."

For Today's Health Minute, I'm Elizabeth Cohen.

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