How Do People Get Lice?

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According to the Center for Disease Control, head lice are spread by head-to-head contact with a person that is already infested. Such contact is common with children while they play at home, school or sporting events. Sharing clothing is another common method of spreading lice, especially hats, scarves, hair ribbons, barrettes, combs and brushes. Lice may also pass through the sharing of toys, such as stuffed animals.

According to the CDC, lice are usually found on the scalp, along the ear line or the back of the neck. However, it is possible for them to be found on eyebrows or eyelashes as well. Symptoms of an infestation include a tickling sensation or the feeling of something moving in one's hair, itching and sores on the head caused by scratching. Diagnosis involves finding a live insect on the scalp. WebMD recommends a special metal-toothed "nit comb" to help search for lice. According to the CDC, lice that are firmly attached to hair about a 1/4 inch away from the scalp strongly suggest an infestation. If they appear higher than that mark, it is likely an old infestation and no longer active. If one is unsure, it is recommended to visit a health care provider. Treatment can be purchased over the counter and is considered safe as long as all directions are followed. WebMD suggests to use the treatment twice, as some lice may be resistant to treatment.