How do I know my child has lice?

  • How do I know if my child has head lice,

    and how do they get it?

    Itching is the first sign of head lice, unless your child has a very light case.  Check your child's head and scalp all over and especially behind the ears and near the neckline when scratching begins.

    Look for lice and their eggs or "nits".  You may see the nits before you find a louse because each louse can lay up to 150 nits at a time.

    If you know another child with lice, be alert that your child may contract lice, too.  When live lice move from one child's head to another; they are "home" and can begin laying eggs immediately.

    Children get lice from other children.  They move from child to child through head to head contact.

    Lice cannot hop, jump, or fly but can crawl from child to child anytime children are close together during play or sports or even nap time.

    Sharing combs, brushes, hair fasteners, hats, caps, coats, neck scarves and even head phones spreads them, too.  Sharing a locker or cubbyhole with a lice-infested child is a comon way to spread lice.  If left behind, lice can attach to your child while sitting on carpets or furniture.  Lice can even attach to stuffed toys.

    A child isn't sick or unclean if they have head lice.  Taking baths won't kill lice or keep children from getting lice.  And, if a child has head lice, it certainly doesn't mean they have bad parents.


    Image of nits on hair shaft


    DSHS. Lice Fact Sheets.  Retrieved from: