School starts, so do head lice

September 8, 2008 The tiny insects spread easily among schoolchildren... who spend a lot of time in close contact.

Wendy Timmons and her kids have had their struggles with head lice.

She recalls, "It is a nightmare. You know, I had 2 children that had it, and the younger child does not cooperate. They cry, they scream, they don't understand what's going on. You have to tell them - You have bugs in your hair."

Pediatricians say parents should understand that head lice don't spread disease - and they aren't a sign of being dirty.

Dr. Claire McCarthy, a pediatrician, says, "they are much less contagious than most people believe. Head lice do not fly. The heads really need to be in close proximity. You need to share a hat. You need to share a hairbrush."

Dr. McCarthy says head lice don't survive long once they fall off a person,

Doctors say over-the-counter products get rid of lice in the hair, but to prevent re-infestation, you must wash all clothing and bed linens in hot water.

And they urge parents to be patient and persistent. Wendy says it took about a month to rid her children of head lice.

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