The best way to prevent the spread of head lice is to not share clothing and personal items with anyone who is infested. If possible, treat all members of the household and prevent your children from coming into contact with infested clothing and articles. It is also a good idea to wash personal items in hot water and dry them on the hot cycle. After washing them, store them in plastic bags to prevent the spread of lice. If you cannot wash them, you can also soak them in hot water for two weeks before they are used by your child. You should also soak hairbrushes in hot water to kill lice.
A head lice infestation can take anywhere from 1.5 to 2 weeks to develop. It is more common to find the eggs in nits than in live lice. The nit hatches in the hair and feeds on the scalp for nine to twelve days before it matures into a full-sized adult. When the adult louse has developed, it will lay hundreds of eggs in a matter of days.
Symptoms of a head lice infestation vary from person to person. Some people are more susceptible to the itching and other symptoms caused by lice. Those with a severe infestation may experience disturbed sleep and irritability. Often, the first signs are an itchy scalp and sores on the scalp and neck. Although not everyone will experience the same symptoms, these are good indicators that an infestation is present. If you’re unsure, you can always consult a professional who can determine whether or not you have head lice.