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Head Lice

Head lice are common in BC communities. Although they are a bother, head lice are not a health risk.

Head lice are tiny, greyish brown, wingless insects that live on the scalp, feeding on human blood. They lay eggs, also called nits, which stick to strands of hair very close to the scalp. (source: HealthLinkBC)

The Facts on head lice

  • Head lice are common.  Anyone who has hair can get head lice
  • Head lice do not spread any diseases. 
  • Head lice are primarily transmitted when the head of an infested individual comes in direct contact with the head of another.

Island Health recommends

  • Children continue to be included in all school activities when lice is suspected or confirmed
  • Regular head lice screening be performed at home by the family using the wet combing method to improve accuracy and maintain confidentiality
  • Families learn the benefits and risks of the various treatment methods for head lice 

What parents and caregivers can do

  • Learn how to check for live lice using wet combing and be aware of the recommended treatment options.
  • It is possible to have head lice more than once, therefore weekly wet combing checks help identify head lice re-infestations
  • If live lice are found using the wet combing method, treat only family members with live lice.

What schools can do

Find more information about our Healthy Schools initiative at www.viha.ca/children/school_years/healthy_schools/