Oh no, not head lice!

If you have a child in school, sooner or later you'll need to deal with an outbreak of head lice.

Lice are a tiny parasite, about the size of a sesame seed, that are easily spread by close contact or sharing personal items such as hats or combs.

Dr. Dawn Davis at the Mayo Clinic says parents have always had to deal with lice.

"Head lice have been around literally since antiquity," she said. "They've found mummies with head lice."

Even so, when you hear about a lice outbreak - or you find lice on your child - it's easy to freak out.

"Head lice cause a lot of rear, anxiety and concern in the public," Davis said. "Head lice do not carry any transmissible diseases that are dangerous. Rather, they are a nuisance."

If your child is scratching their scalp a lot, check for head lice.

Dr. Davis says there are plenty of effective over-the-counter treatments. What's important to remember is that in order to catch the full life cycle of the louse, a second treatment a week or so after the first one is a good idea.

A reminder from Consumer Reports that if your child has head lice, all household members and close contacts should be checked and treated if necessary.

More Info:

Mayo Clinic: Head Lice

Consumer Reports: How to Get Rid of Lice

CDC: FAQs About Head Lice