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If your child comes home with head lice, you may have a lot of questions. It’s important to keep in mind that head lice are treatable with care, time, and patience. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist before using any chemical shampoos if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Your child is under two years of age, has asthma, or allergies.

How do you get head lice?A girl scratching her head.

  • Direct head-to-head contact.
  • Through indirect contact such as combs, hats, and brushes.

How do you treat head lice?

  • Use the specific chemical shampoo and remove all lice eggs or by use the wet combing method, which is non-chemical but less effective.

Should I sterilize the entire house every time my child comes home with head lice?

  • Wash combs, brushes, towels, and anything else used during treatment with hot soapy water.
  • Wash items used in the past two days (clothes, hats, pillowcases, sheets, and stuffed animals).
  • Seal items that cannot be washed in a plastic bag for two weeks.
  • Vacuum or wash your child's car seat cover.
  • Vacuum to pick up stray lice or eggs.
  • Excessive cleaning is not needed.
  • Do not use insecticide sprays.

Do I have to treat everyone in the house for head lice?

  • Only people who have head lice should be treated.
  • Pets do not get head lice.

How do you prevent head lice?

  • Check your child’s head routinely for head lice.
  • Discourage children from sharing clothing, towels, and combs.
  • Tea tree oil and hair styling products such as hair gel or mousse have not been proven effective in prevention of head lice.