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Children and Head Lice - Pediatrics

It causes itching and sores on the head. Head lice are common for children and highly contagious. Dr. Piedade Silva, a pediatrician with Lee Health, says while the diagnosis causes a lot of concern for parents, it doesn’t spread disease. “Head lice are just little bugs that love your hair and they deposit their eggs on the hair. They crawl around in your hair and they love to go from one head to another.” While adults can also get head lice, doctors say it’s more common in children. “Kids tend to share a lot of things. They’ll share brushes, they’ll share hats, they hug, lay on top of each other, they play together. It could be the cleanest child and you get it from someone else so it’s just one of those that spread quite a bit,” said Dr. Silva. Head lice can also travel to things like pillows, couches, and clothes. While they won’t live very long, doctors recommend parents wash towels, sheets, and pillows, if a child has head lice. It’s also important to wash the child’s hair with medicated shampoo. “The problem with it is the lice have become resistant to a lot of the classical medications that we used to use. They have come out with new medications that tend to be not as toxic which is much better,” said Dr. Silva. Other remedies parents can use are mayonnaise or Vaseline to kill the lice. “Essentially what it does is you really have to cover the entire hair with it because it kills the lice by suffocation,” said Dr. Silva. After a few washes, the child is typically free of head lice. Lice outbreaks are common, but if careful, doctors say it can be prevented. View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/ Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit LeeHealth.org