With students heading back to school, the Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department is issuing a warning to parents to take precautions and be on the lookout for head lice.
While lice do not cause disease, they can be quite a nuisance. Sharing is typically viewed as a kind gesture, but Public Health Nurse Betty Fisher said when it comes to lice, there are certain items students should never share.
"We want to remind the kids, don’t share their combs and brushes and let each other wear their hats," Fisher said. "Some schools have hat days, which is a lot of fun, but you don’t want to let everyone wear your hat because if someone has it, they may pass it on to someone else."
Lice do not fly or jump, but they can spread by crawling between people or items that come in direct contact. As a result, if your child detects lice, parents not only need to treat the child, but the entire household as well.
"You have to cleanup the household, such as stripping off the beds, the bed clothes, the sheets, the blankets, the bedspreads, pillow cases and wash them and dry them in the drier," Fisher said. "It’s the heat that actually kills them, not just the water. It’s the actual heat that kills them."
Fisher encourages parents to check their child for lice two to three times per week because the sooner the lice are detected and treated, the less chance there is of it spreading throughout the family. Lice are about one eighth of an inch long and a yellowish-white in color. The common places to detect lice or their nits are over the ears, at the nape of the neck, and on the crown of the head.
For more information on lice, you can visit the Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department’s website at www.zmchd.org.