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National Pediculosis Prevention Month/Head Lice Prevention Month – September 2023

National Pediculosis Prevention Month or Head Lice Prevention Month is observed every September. National Pediculosis Prevention Month was founded by the National Pediculosis Association (N.P.A.). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) reports that head lice are common among schoolchildren in the U.S. The C.D.C. estimates that six to 12 million school-going children are infested with head lice each year. The purpose of this observance is to raise awareness about head lice prevention as well as treatment and also encourage parents, teachers, and school nurses to recognize signs of head lice infestation.

History of National Pediculosis Prevention Month/Head Lice Prevention Month

Pediculosis, commonly referred to as head lice, is a common condition among school-aged children. It is caused by tiny insects called lice that live on the scalp and feed on blood from their human hosts. Head lice are very contagious. They can be spread by direct contact with an infected person or with items such as hats, brushes, combs, and bedding used by someone who has head lice. The insects can also be spread through contact with clothing recently worn by someone who has them, such as a hat, scarf, or coat.

The most common symptom of pediculosis is intense itching of the scalp and neck area caused by an allergic reaction to the louse’s saliva when it bites the skin. These insects are small, flat, and wingless, with six legs, that feed on human blood. They can only survive on human hosts because they cannot digest food on their own; therefore, they depend on humans for survival.

The National Pediculosis Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting children and adults from the misuse of prescription lice and scabies treatments since 1983. Through an active public health education program and collaborative research, the National Pediculosis Association strives to set the highest public health standards for children affected by head lice.

National Pediculosis Prevention Month/Head Lice Prevention Month timeline

18th Century
Head Lice Identified

Joseph Jakob Planck, who discovered five varieties of lice according to the part of the human body on which they are found, first identifies pediculosis.

1842
The First Textbook About Pediculosis

Erasmus Wilson publishes a book that helps medical professionals identify and understand lice.

1983
The National Pediculosis Association is Founded

The association is established to prevent pediculosis from spreading.

1985
The Month-Long Observance Starts

The National Pediculosis Association starts the campaign to stop head lice by launching the National Pediculosis Prevention Month.

National Pediculosis Prevention Month/Head Lice Prevention Month FAQs

Where did lice come from?

According to a study published in the Public Library of Science Biology, our species may have acquired lice from Homo erectus. Researchers found two genetically distinct lineages of the louse.

What is the incubation period for pediculosis?

Throughout a 17–18-day period, the female lays up to 10 eggs per day. The eggs are called nits and hatch in about 7–10 days. The first nymphal stage is followed by the second and third stages, which last approximately 1–8 days.

What are the 3 types of pediculosis?

If you have ever had lice in your hair, you are probably familiar with the three types of head lice: the body louse, the crab louse, and the head louse. All of these species live in the hairs on your head and attach their eggs to strands of human hair.

How to Observe National Pediculosis Prevention Month/Head Lice Prevention Month

  1. Share educational resource

    Share educational resources with your friends and family members You could choose to do this virtually via email and other social media channels or by having a face-to-face discussion.

  2. Carry-out weekly checks

    The CDC recommends that children be checked weekly during the school year and twice a month during summer break. As caregivers, it is important to adhere to these guidelines.

  3. Don't share personal items with other people

    Wash your sheets and towels weekly in hot water. Do not use conditioner on your hair because it can make lice more challenging to remove. Don't buy used clothing or furniture, and don't share hats, coats, or sweaters.

5 Important Facts About Lice

  1. Life from our blood

    Lice are tiny insects that can be seen with the naked eye and they live on the scalp and feed on blood.

  2. Spread through direct contact

    Lice are spread through direct contact when you share items with an infected person.

  3. They crawl

    Lice cannot fly or jump as fleas do and they crawl from one person's head to another's.

  4. They affect six million people each year

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about six million people in the U.S. get head lice each year.

  5. It affects school attendance

    The CDC also reports that 12 million school days are missed each year due to head lice infestation.

Why National Pediculosis Prevention Month/Head Lice Prevention Month is Important

  1. It encourages us to do weekly checks

    It encourages parents whose children are at risk for pediculosis to check their hair frequently throughout the month. There is no stigma associated with doing this.

  2. It reminds us to have good hygiene

    National Pediculosis Prevention Month is important because it reminds us to practice good hygiene habits. This is one of the ways to keep lice away from us and our dwelling places.

  3. Educates about pediculosis or lice

    We get to learn about lice and how to prevent them during National Pediculosis Prevention Month. We value the awareness this creates in us as it makes our lives that much better.

National Pediculosis Prevention Month/Head Lice Prevention Month dates

YearDateDay
2023September 1Friday
2024September 1Sunday
2025September 1Monday
2026September 1Tuesday
2027September 1Wednesday
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