No-Panic Guide to Kids' Cooties

Head Lice

What is it?
Tiny brown-and-gray parasites that lay their eggs (nits) in human hair and draw blood from the scalp.

What to look for
An itchy scalp; lice move so quickly through hair that you may never actually see one, but you will find nits, which are white, tinier than a grain of salt, and cemented to hair shaft.

What to do
Rinse your child's hair with an over-the-counter treatment containing permethrin. Remove nits with a lice comb; also check the rest of the family for lice or nits. See your pediatrician if lice persist.

How to prevent it
Wash toys, linens, and clothes in hot water to prevent reinfestation; seal items that can't be washed in a plastic bag for two weeks. Teach kids not to share hats or brushes. Avoid contact with infected individuals.

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