Health Watch - Biting: Lice

Health Watch is a Public Service of the University News Bureau and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about some of the bites that happen more often during the summer. When kids are in close quarters or sharing hats, like at summer camp, day care centers, slumber parties or gym locker rooms, they may share head lice.

Parents often discover lice when children complain of an itchy scalp. To tell the difference between a dry scalp and lice, sit the child in a well-lit place and examine the scalp. Adult lice will move, and the eggs, or nits, are small white or yellow-brown specks. Dr. Benjamin Lee, a pediatrician at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says over-the-counter lice-killing treatments can be purchased at drugstores. He recommends a second treatment a week later to make sure all the nits are dead. If that doesn’t clear up the problem, you should see a doctor. The child’s bedding and clothing should be washed in hot water. Items that can’t be washed should be placed in a plastic bag for several days until the nits die. 

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July 2011

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