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Health Tip: Prevent the Spread of Head Lice

(HealthDay News) -- Lice are typically spread by direct head-to-head contact, and less often can be spread by sharing clothing or belongings such as backpacks, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Once head lice fall from a host, they can survive for fewer than a couple of days, the agency adds.

The CDC suggests how to control the spread of head lice:

  • Avoid head-to-head contact with an infested person.

  • Do not share hats, scarves, coats, sports uniforms, hair ribbons or barrettes.

  • Do not share combs, brushes or towels. Disinfect combs and brushes by soaking them for several hours in hot water (at least 130 degrees F).

  • Avoid beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have recently been in contact with an infested person.

  • Wash and dry in hot water clothing, bed sheets and other items that an infested person used.

  • Items that are not washable can be dry-cleaned, or sealed in a plastic bag for two weeks.

  • Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly where the infested person sat or lay.

  • Do not use fumigant sprays or fogs, which can be harmful to people.

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