The first step in treating head lice is to wash all clothing and bedding that have been used by the infested person. This should be done on a hot wash cycle and dried on a high setting. Items that cannot be washed should be dry cleaned and sealed in a plastic bag for two weeks. Another step is to thoroughly vacuum the room and areas where the infested person spent time during the past two days. Do not use fumigants, which can be toxic and can be absorbed through the skin.
Although head lice cannot jump or swim, they can spread from one person to another easily through head-to-head contact. Children in primary school spend a lot of time with their heads together, and this is also the case with parents, who can pass on lice by cuddling with their children.
Head lice live in the scalp and are found on children and adults. They spread through head-to-head contact and sharing hair accessories. Adult head lice are usually found near the neck and behind the ears. If you have this condition, it is important to seek medical attention. The most common symptoms of head lice include itching and a tickling sensation. Lice will lay their eggs on the hair near the scalp. The eggs will usually be within a quarter-inch (6 mm) of the scalp.
Head lice live in the scalp for two to three weeks. After hatching, the lice will feed on human blood on the head several times a day. Despite this, lice are relatively slow to reproduce once they leave the human body.