Thursday, January 8, 2015

Head Lice - General Information

Oh, no! Head lice!?! Don't fret, Brassfield Bears. While head lice can be extremely frustrating to manage, lice is not dangerous, and can definitely be prevented. 

At our school:
If a child appears to be scratching, he/she is referred to the office for a head check. 
If a case is identified in a classroom and communicated to school personnel, a letter is sent home to the parents of students in that class. 
Coats, hats, and mittens are separated as much as possible. 
Individual use of earbuds/headphones is encouraged. 

From the Wake County Public School System:

Head Lice - How You Can Get Lice
  • Lice do not jump or fly
  • People must have their heads close together so the lice can crawl (short distances only) from one head to another
  • Lice may also be spread by sharing combs, hats, scarves, sweaters, coats, brushes and pillows
  • Lice can crawl from clothing or personal items that are stored in one place such as piles of hats or coats at friends’ homes, school or meeting places
  • Lice eggs can live on upholstered chairs, carpet or car seats
Head Lice - What Lice and Their Eggs (“NITS”) Look Like
Lice are:
  • Small insects that are about 1/8” to 1/10” long (about this (-) long)
  • They are grayish white with dark edges
  • They have three legs on each side of their body
  • They run quickly from light, so can be difficult to see
  • On the head, lice can live for 28-30 days
  • Lice need about 5 blood meals a day to live
  • They die within 24-48 hours if they fall off the scalp
Nits are:
  • Lice eggs.  They look like a sesame seed
  • Nits are attached by a glue-like substance to the hair, which makes them very hard to remove.  To tell the difference, remember that dry skin or lint will brush off easily; nits will not come off easily
  • Nits are laid at the end of a hair within ¼” of the scalp.  The nit will move up the hair as the hair grows
  • Nits hatch in 7-10 days
  • Nits that are more than 1/2” from the scalp have hatched and are no longer alive
Head Lice - Who and How to Treat
Information on who and how to treat head lice may be found on the Parent Information Sheet. English (PDF - 69k); Spanish (PDF - 72k)
Who to Treat
  • Check all family members for lice and nits
  • Treat only people who actually have live lice or nits.  The treatment will not prevent people from getting lice
How to Treat
  • Several different medicated shampoos can be purchased at the drugstore.  You may wish to ask your doctor for a product that requires a prescription
  • Read the directions on the shampoo carefully.  Some will need to be put on dry hair.  It is important to use the entire bottle
  • The medicated shampoos kill live lice.  It is not certain that any of them will kill nits
  • A fine toothcomb (metal works best) must be used after the shampoo to help remove the nits
  • Automatically repeat the treatment once in 7 - 10 days
  • Follow the product directions and the advice of your doctor
  • It is very important not to use any treatment more often than suggested
  • Never use home remedies such as kerosene to treat lice

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