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How common are head lice?

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Lice are an unpleasant but all-too-common part of childhood. These wingless insects about the size of a sesame seed feed on blood, and the females lay their eggs on the hair close to the scalp.

More than 12 million Americans get them every year, and most are between the ages of 3 and 11. Once lice find their way into a school or summer camp, they spread quickly as children share combs, brushes, and hats.

Although they don't cause serious illness, they are something that children -- and their parents -- would rather live without. Having lice doesn’t mean a child is dirty, as they can pop up in anyone’s hair.

SOURCES:

News release, Sanofi Pasteur U.S.

American Osteopathic College of Dermatology: "Dandruff."

CDC: "Head Lice, Treatment."

Zitelli, B.J.; Davis, H.W., eds. , 5th ed., Philadelphia, Mosby Elsevier. Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Folliculitis

American Academy of Dermatology: "Seborrheic Dermatitis."

American Academy of Dermatology: “Lichen Planus.”

Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology , May 2014.

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on February 13, 2019

SOURCES:

News release, Sanofi Pasteur U.S.

American Osteopathic College of Dermatology: "Dandruff."

CDC: "Head Lice, Treatment."

Zitelli, B.J.; Davis, H.W., eds. , 5th ed., Philadelphia, Mosby Elsevier. Atlas of Pediatric Physical Diagnosis

U.S. National Library of Medicine: “Folliculitis

American Academy of Dermatology: "Seborrheic Dermatitis."

American Academy of Dermatology: “Lichen Planus.”

Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology , May 2014.

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner on February 13, 2019

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