Head Lice

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0110-1103-0315-1107_cute_little_boy_with_head_lice.jpgHead Lice (Pediculosis):

 

What can parents do?  Do weekly head checks on your children.
Did you know that sleep over’s among friends is the most common place where head lice are spread?  Have your child bring their own pillow.
Please remember that head lice are not dangerous and can be controlled.  
School nurses are your supportive advocates.  We can assist you in checking and rechecking your child if you suspect head lice. We can also assist you in methods to eradicate the “little buggers”.  Information on prescription shampoos, over the counter shampoos, and other home based alternative methods.   Please feel free to contact your child's student health office.

 

Symptoms: Itching of head and/or neck. You could see lice crawling in the hair or nits (eggs) that are glued to the strands of hair. Nits are often found behind the ears and hairline of the neck. It takes about 7-10 days for the eggs to hatch once laid.
Spread: Lice is spread by head-to-head contact. Lice do not jump or fly; they crawl. They cannot live longer then 48 hours off the human head and eggs will not hatch if not on the head. And remember, lice cannot live on animals. So no need to worry about spreading lice to your pet, or your pet spreading it to you or your child.
Treatment: Research tells us that first line of treatment should be an over-the-counter lice treatment and to repeat in 7-10 days. If this is ineffective, you can call your child's doctor. Some people have had success with home remedies, like olive oil or mayonnaise, which acts as a suffocation agent. It is very important to remove the nits. Nits can hatch and cause further lice infestation. It can take up to 2 weeks to get rid of lice/nits so continue to check the head daily for 2 weeks.

Here is a good read from kidshealth.org about treating lice, 20 Surprising Things you Might Not Know About Head Lice
 
20 Surprising Things You Might Not Know About Head Lice
  1. Until a few years ago, approaches to head lice were based on old wives tales, misconceptions, and marketing department companies.  Luckily, there is now research from Harvard, on which these facts are known.    
  2. Head lice are not a sign of uncleanliness; they love clean hair because it is easier to latch on.
  3. Lice do not hop, jump, or fly; the only way they can get from one person to another is direct touching, head to head.
  4. Lice are not passed on by pets.  The only place head lice can thrive is on the human head.
  5. When found most cases of head lice are already more than a month old.
  6. Because of use and overuse of head lice shampoos, head lice have become resistant to the products that once would kill them so no head lice product is 100% effective.  That is why combing and nit removal is important.
  7. Never treat or retreat “just in case” in the absence of live lice.  Head lice products are pesticides, which are toxic and if overused can be absorbed through the skin.
  8. Removing the nits (eggs) and live lice with a special metal-tooth comb is time consuming but the most effective way to get rid of them.  They do not wash out.
  9. Hats and coats touching in school are not sources of lice.  A louse on a hat or coat is a dying louse who will not be capable of reproducing.  Healthy ones stay close to the scalp.  They cannot survive without blood, that is why they bite.
  10. Head lice are not a source of infection or disease.  They are simply a nuisance.
  11. Schools are not the most common places where head lice are spread, even though they have been blamed in the past.  Sleep-overs among friends and relatives are thought to be a common way they are passed from home to home.
  12. School-wide head checks are not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  The most effective screening occurs when parents check their own children at home.
  13. One of the biggest challenges in eliminating head lice is parents’ discomfort in communicating about the problem.  
  14. Most schools do not practice “no-nit” policies because it has been proven that these policies do not impact the spread of lice.
  15. You will always be able to find web sites that promote drastic measure like sprays, special products, and “no-nit” policies.  Most of them are commercial sites and are in the business of selling the product.  It is their best interest to keep Head lice Hysteria alive, otherwise they will not make any profits.  .
  16. Nit and lice removal is tedious but there are some simple products that help.  Vinegar, real mayonnaise, olive oil, and Dawn Dish soap. None of these have been proven but they seem to help loosen the nits for easier removal.
  17. Shaving the head or cutting the hair will not affect how easily a child catches lice, although this may make nit removal easier.  Don’t do this unless your child wants you to.  A child’s self-esteem is much more important than a few missed nits.
  18. Most schools want children with head lice treated and back in school right away.
  19. School nurses are supportive advocates who will help you obtain lice shampoo and use it properly.  School nurses will assist you in checking or rechecking as you work to remove nits and lice from your child’s head.  Just ask.
  20. School nurses will not judge you or report you or tell others if you ask for assistance.  We handle lice in a confidential manner.  We know that even the best families can catch them, and most of us who are parents have been through it at least once ourselves.  

HOME HEAD LICE CHECKS

Schools are not the most common places where head lice are spread, even though they have been blamed in the past. Sleep-overs among friends and relatives are thought to be a common way they are passed from home to home. The health office recommends weekly head checks done by parents with their children. Dandruff can easily be flicked out of the hair, where as nits are stuck on the hair....they can not be easily removed. If you are questioning whether your son or daughter may have head lice, call the health office at your child's school.
 
LICE CAN AFFECT ANYONE
Head lice are common and a nuisance. A lice infestation is not due to poor hygiene; in fact, lice like a clean head. The main symptom of head lice is persistent itching, particularly around the scalp or neck. Some children may also get small red bumps and suffer from mild scalp irritation. However, it is possible to have head lice without these symptoms.