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
- 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
- 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