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Health Matters: Head Lice

There are millions of cases of head lice every year in the United States and doctors at Arkansas Children's Hospital say they get dozens of visits a week from frantic parents asking how to stop the itching.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - It's usually during the school year when we hear about head lice spreading in children.

But with summer camps and sleep overs this time of year can be just as bad.

There are millions of cases of head lice every year in the United States.

Doctors at Arkansas Children's Hospital say they get dozens of visits a week from frantic parents asking how to stop the itching.

"It can happen to anybody at any point in time," says Dr. Carrie Brown.

Dr. Brown says once you've got it, getting rid of the parasites takes more than just using a chemical-treated shampoo.

"Unless you go through the process of using a really good lice comb, and pulling off every single egg still stuck on their hair, it's going to hatch at the end of the week or 10 days and then your child is going to have what you think is new lice when in fact it the same lice they had before but it just hatched out of your kid's head and is now crawling around again," says Dr. Brown.

Some summer camps will check children for head lice.

If the one your child attends does not, Dr. Brown says it might be a good idea to request that service.

As far as prevention goes, doctors say the best thing to do is to tell your kids to stay away from borrowing things like hair brushes, hats and pillows.

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