Head lice are small insects that like to live on human heads. They are about one tenth of an inch long. Since they have no wings they do not fly. On a person’s head, they move by grasping onto hair shafts. They can move quickly but they cannot jump. They are spread from one person to another by direct contact. These lice lay eggs on the hair shaft near the scalp and usually prefer the area along the nape of the neck and behind the ears. When checking for lice, this is the area to look. What you are looking for is a tiny white-grey sesame seed sized nit (the name given to lice eggs) that is glued to the hair shaft. It won’t move if you try to flick it off the hair.
If you find these nits, then head lice are present and the person should be treated with a medicated shampoo to kill the live lice. Ask your pharmacist for advice on the different brands available. Please exclude any affected children from activities with other children (school, parties, sports, etc.) until the lice have been eliminated. Be sure to inform and/or check any family members or friends that the child has been near recently. The child must be nit free before returning to school. Look closely for nits and remove them by pinching them between your finger and thumb to pull them from the hair. Place them in a plastic bag for disposal.
Once the child has been treated with a shampoo and nits are removed take these steps to help assure they do not return.
- Wash all bed linens, towels, and clothing (include hats, coats, ribbons) in hot water. Dry in a hot dryer for at least 20 minutes. Pediculocide (a small amount of the shampoo) for 10 minutes.
- Clean brushes, combs, and hair articles in hot soapy water and pediculocide (a small amount of the shampoo) for 10 minutes.
- Vacuum all furniture, carpets, rugs, and car seats.
- Place things that can’t be washed, such as stuffed animals, in a plastic bag and seal it for two weeks.
Examine your child’s head as a part of normal routine hygiene. Continue to check for more nits at least two weeks after having treated your child for lice. Follow instructions carefully any products you use. Do not over treat. These are pesticides and should be used with caution. To find more information do a search on the internet for “pediculosis”.
After you treat your child and clean the home, we need to check your child before they may return to the classroom. You must drive your child to school and report to the Clinic where someone will check for any remaining nits. They may not return to class unless they are nit free.
We realize this is a long tedious process, but with your help, we will be able to get the child back into the classroom as soon as possible.
If you have questions please call Lisa Witzke at 440-740-4706