There seems to be no limit to the number of creepy, crawling, pests and parasites that manage to infest and torture us and we’ve certainly all heard a great deal about the recent bed bug epidemic but it hasn’t made head lice go away, they’re still here and they’re still important. Usually head lice occur in kids who spread them from child to child just by the way they play and certain objects that they share like hats and brushes and usually the diagnosis is made by the school nurse whose doing routine lice checks to make sure that there is no epidemic going on in her particular school. The only symptom of head lice is itching but when you look at the scalp it’s very hard to see the lice because they’re so tiny and there aren’t very many of them. It’s much easier though to see the eggs, which we call nits, and they are oval shaped, in color they’re white to tan or brown and they’re very hard and they usually are attached to the hair shaft and they’re attached by a glue-like material like this white material here and this is the angle that you see them attached to the hair shaft and this is an approximation of the proportion of the size of a nit to the size of a hair. Well, the good news is these infestations are very easy to treat. There are over the counter products like Rid shampoo and Nix cream rinse that are very effective at killing the lice, not completely effective at killing the nits. You just have to treat once, you leave the material on for about ten minutes and there are very, very extensive instructions that come with these products. I sometimes suggest treating a second time a week later just to make sure that if any of the nits weren’t killed, then any lice that have hatched are then killed. In terms of getting rid of the nits, it’s very easy to do with a fine toothed comb that comes with the package. You don’t have to call consultants to come in and do this for you, you can do it yourself and if you don’t remove all of the nits it’s not the end of the world because if you do another treatment a week later, you’ll kill any lice that hatch. Certainly if one of your kids has lice, treat all of your kids, since there’s a good chance they’ve spread it to each other and then of course make you treat their brushes, hats, hair clips or anything else either by boiling them, dry cleaning or whatever is appropriate. So the bad news is, lice are here to stay and the good news is lice are really easy to treat.