About head lice

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to have outbreaks of head lice in a school. Head lice do not hop, jump or fly! They do not live in dirt or on animals. Humans are their only natural host. Everyone, no matter how clean, are susceptible to head lice.
So, how do your children get the head lice? They are very easily transmitted from one person to another or by contact with combs, hats, coats, brushes, towels, bed sheets, blankets, carpets, & furniture. You can be pretty sure that if one child in a family has head lice, that all the children & possibly the adults in that family also have them. Girls get them more often than boys, probably from combing each other's hair, sharing hair bands, etc., but I see quite a few boys with head lice in school also.
An adult louse (bug) will live about 3 days off the head. The nits (eggs) can live for 3 weeks! Female lice lay 6 eggs a day for 30 days. Now you can see why head lice are such a problem! The eggs (nits) mature into adults in 10 to 14 days.
Signs that your child may have head lice are:

  • frequently scratching the head/scalp (the most common symptom)
  • sores behind the ears & on the nape of the neck (from scratching)
  • nits glued in one position on the hair shaft. (The nits resemble dandruff or hair gel/spray but they will not move by brushing the hair because they are actually glued to the hair shaft.)

The only treatment for head lice is using a shampoo containing an insecticide that will kill them. You must also remove all nits (eggs) from the hair to prevent reinfestation. This is done by using a fine tooth comb (a metal dog flea comb works great & is cheaper than buying a metal lice comb!) or by picking the nits out by hand. In addition to this, your home must be treated & that information is in the pink letter that I send home to parents when there is an outbreak in class. I also have additional written information available to send home describing how to treat a child with head lice, how to properly comb the hair to remove the nits, & how to properly clean your home to prevent reinfestation in your family. Just let me know & I will send this information home with your child if you would like.
If you discover that your child has head lice please call me so I can help in preventing the spread of them in school. A letter will be sent home to all the children in your child's class so other parents can check their children. Please be reassured that your child's confidentiality will be guarded.