This is a topic that can be very alarming to parents and faculty members. Eight to twelve million students are affected by head lice each year in this country. Here are some facts and tips for you:
- Head lice do no hop, jump or fly.
- Head lice prefer clean hair.
- Head to head contact is one way to contract lice.
- Live louse may crawl onto carpet or clothing and can survive long enough to crawl onto hair that comes into contact with it.
- An adult louse has a life span of 30 days and can produce 300 eggs known as nits.
- Nits hatch in 10 days and need a warm, humid environment. They require human blood to survive. They cannot survive on plastic, smooth or hard surfaces.
- Adult lice are the size of a sesame seed. They are brown and move very quickly through hair.
- Nits are white and stick very tightly to individual hair strands.
- Treatment with an approved head lice product and manual removal of all nits is the only way to break the lice cycle.
If your child does get head lice, try not to panic. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a recommended treatment product. Follow instructions carefully. Call the school nurse or your doctor if the instructions seem confusing. Remember to retreat in 10 days as indicated by the product instructions.
- Check all family members, including parents.
- Disinfect combs and brushes.
- Wash and dry bedding on high heat setting.
- Vacuum carpets, furniture, mattresses and vehicles.
- Stuffed animals can be put into a plastic garbage bag and sealed for 14 days.
- There is no need to spray or bomb your house. These products are toxic and art not proven to help prevent lice.
- Children and pregnant women should not use products containing Lindane (Kwell). This product is toxic.
If you need more help or would like to learn more about lice, you can call the National Pediculosis Association at (800) 446-4672.
The school nurse will perform head checks throughout the year. The management of head lice can be effective if we all work together. Children who are found to have head lice during routine checks will NOT be identified in front of their classmates. The child will be called down to the nurse in a discreet manner. Parents will be contacted to pick up their child. Your child will need to report to the school nurse for a re-check after you have successfully treated and removed all nits. If there are no less than 3 nits that can easily be removed during the re-check, your child may remain in school. If there are more that 3 nits, you will be asked to take your child home for the continued removal of nits. Our NO NITS practice puts you, the parent, in control of head lice and decreases the risk of reoccurrence.