Head Lice Prevention

Head lice prevention is as important now as ever before. Whether your child is heading back to school or you work as a teacher, nurse, or share helmets, hats, and towels with friends, head lice is an almost constant risk. Also known as pediculus humanus capitis, lice are not an indication of cleanliness. It is actually quite common, affecting an estimated 6-12 million children each year in the U.S.

If you contract lice, however, you may not know what to do. Below, you’ll find a guide to head lice prevention, symptoms, and treatment, as well as when to visit a dermatologist if you think you have head lice.


Lice Prevention Tips

Lice are passed from person-to-person. They need human blood to live, and the lice access this by crawling up the hair shaft and making tiny bites into the scalp. These bites can cause significant itching. The lice themselves do not spread disease. However, if a child itches their scalp vigorously, they may create an open sore putting them at risk for infection.

The best form of head lice prevention is to refrain from sharing hats, helmets, and towels. Lice can live in fabric for up to 48 hours, which means you should refrain from sharing these items with others. Additionally, keeping hair short is a good preventative measure, but it is not always enough to stop the spread of these annoying critters.


Head Lice Symptoms

The initial signs of head lice include severe scalp itching and the visualization of tiny light-brown or light-grey bugs on the hair, skin or clothing. Nits, or lie eggs, can sometimes be tiny yellow, tan or brown dots that are firmly adhered to the hair shaft.


Lice Treatments

It is important to treat your home after a known case of lice. Make sure to clean items, like brushes and combs, in hot water. Place items like bedsheets, pillowcases, towels, and even stuffed animals in the washer and dryer using the hottest possible settings. These will help eradicate the pests from your home.

Head lice treatments are widely available over the counter. They often include special shampoos, creams, and combs. Most cases of lice can be treated with at-home shampoos and lotions, with treatment spaces 7-9 days apart.


When to See a Professional for Head Lice Treatment

If you or your child has a persistently itchy scalp or a known case of lice that does not resolve with over the counter treatments, it is time to see a dermatology provider.

Additionally, sometimes the itching on your scalp isn’t lice at all, but a chronic skin condition like psoriasis. This condition’s symptoms include having an itchy scalp, developing reddish patches, and a dandruff-like flaking – similar to some reactions to head lice. If traditionally lice treatments haven’t worked, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist. They will be able to diagnose the itching’s cause and provide treatment options that work for you.

Zel Skin & Laser Specialists is an excellent place to receive treatment, whether you can’t get rid of lice or you suspect you have psoriasis. Our skin care specialists are the best in the area, and we’ve invested in the most up-to-date treatments available.


Brooke Moss, PA-C, MPH is a board certified dermatology Physician Assistant. She is currently accepting new patients in our Edina and Downtown Minneapolis offices.

Zel Skin & Laser Specialists Expands Its Staff of Board-Certified Dermatologists


MINNEAPOLIS (January 20, 2017) – Zel Skin & Laser Specialists, a dermatology-directed skin care clinic, announced today that Mary Meighan, M.D., has joined its staff and is accepting new patients for medical dermatology and skin cancer treatment at our Minneapolis and Plymouth clinics.

“We are excited to have Dr. Meighan join our team,” says Brian Zelickson, M.D., Medical Director of Zel Skin & Laser Specialists. “Dr Meighan is an excellent dermatologist with extensive skill and experience in managing very difficult skin conditions. She will add significant expertise to our team.”

Since 1991, Dr. Meighan has practiced medical dermatology in a variety of settings in the Twin Cities, including an academic teaching clinic, a multi-specialty clinic, and in private practice. She received the Outstanding Teacher Award, from the Department of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota, and has been listed among the Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine Top Doctors and the Minneapolis Magazine Top Doctors for Women.

Board-certified in both internal medicine and dermatology, Dr. Meighan completed her internship in internal medicine and her residency in dermatology at Yale New Haven Hospital after graduating from the University of North Carolina Medical School in 1985.

Her professional memberships include the American Academy of Dermatology and the Minnesota Dermatologic Society. She is also Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Dr. Meighan has special interest in skin cancer — basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma — and its prevention and in inflammatory diseases, such as psoriasis and eczema, as well as in diagnosing and treating the cutaneous manifestations of collagen vascular diseases.

About Zel Skin & Laser Specialists (www.zelskin.com)

A dermatologist-directed skin care clinic led by Dr. Brian Zelickson, Zel Skin & Laser Specialists has three Minneapolis locations that offer Medical Dermatology, Cosmetic Dermatology, Mohs Surgery and Virtual Dermatology Visits. Its cosmetic dermatologists help patients stay healthy and look good with preventative skin care, corrective treatment, skin enhancements and skin maintenance services. Zel Skin has participated in 100 clinical studies and has seen more than 30,000 patients.

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2 Carlson Parkway N., Suite 100
Plymouth, MN 55447

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