Dealing with Head Lice
What you need to know if your student was found to have lice in his/her hair.
Lice are not considered a public health issue and do not spread disease. Lice are not easily spread. Generally head-to-head contact is required. Lice need warmth and blood to live and will not live off a human for more than a day or two. Lice cannot crawl on a smooth surface.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of School Nurses, and the Centers for Disease Control do not support exclusion from school for lice or nits.
By following the guidelines stated below, you can assist the school in preventing the spread of lice.
- When your child comes home today, use an appropriate lice treatment to kill the lice. Over-the-counter treatments, such as Nix, Ovide, or an alternative treatment (oil, Cetaphil, etc.) can be used.
- After the treatment, a thorough combing of the hair with a lice comb then fingers is necessary to remove the nits (eggs). Use good lighting, and go through the hair one section at a time. Pay particular attention to the neck area and behind the ears. You may need to pull nits out with your fingers.
- Send your child to school the next day with some proof of the treatment you used, such as the box top, store receipt, or description of treatment. The health staff will check that there are no active lice present. It is most important to treat the entire family at the same time.
- Although lice will live only 24 to 48 hours off of the scalp, you must wash bedding, and clean or apply heat (clothes dryer or hairdryer) to toys, clothing, cars, and furniture, and vacuum rugs. Any items that cannot be washed should be placed in a sealed plastic bag for 2 to 3 weeks. Pets do not get lice. There is no reason to treat them.
- Every week, for the next three weeks, comb the child’s and family’s hair thoroughly with the lice comb and fingers. This will ensure the removal of any live nits that may have grown. If live lice are found, repeat the lice treatment.
- It is to your advantage to inform family members, day care centers, and others who are in close contact with your child, to help prevent more lice infestation.
- The health staff at your child’s school is an excellent resource for any problems you may have. We also encourage you to call your health care provider for help.
- DUE TO CONFIDENTIALITY LAWS AND REGULATIONS WE ARE UNABLE TO DO MASS SCREENINGS FOR HEAD LICE. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) could be violated by screening students without parental/guardian permission.
It is very important to follow directions on the Lice Treatment Box and to repeat the treatment to kill any lice that have hatched. Use Nit Comb daily for 3 weeks.
For an article on "Demystifying Pediculosis", click here.