The purpose of this letter is to inform ALL our parents about head lice. Our hope is that this letter will serve as a educational resource for all parents. Nixa schools does not have any increase incidence of head lice at this time, but headlice much like the common cold does occur periodically throughout the school year. Headlice is not always reported to the school nurse because some parents choose to keep this issue private. Therefore, every parent is encouraged to check your child when they complain of an itchy head, after your child stays at another house or prior to returning to school from any scheduled break.
Recent research shows the most common places a child may get head lice is at a sleepover, from family members, or other people in the same household. Lice are transmitted primarily from head to head contact. Time with friends and family in other households frequently occurs during our school breaks. Therefore, leading us to share head lice information with our parents at this point in the school year.
Please read all the information below to help prevent head lice in our schools.
What should I know about head lice?
- Transmission from hats, combs, pillows, etc. is possible.
- Lice cannot fly or jump- they cling to the hair and can only crawl.
- Live lice will die within one day when off the head.
- Hatched eggs or nits may remain on the hair but do not produce more lice.
How do I check my child for head lice?
Using a comb or fingers, separate hair into small sections to look over their entire head for live lice. Live lice may be tan to grayish-white. They are the size of a sesame seed with 6 legs and no wings. Lice lay eggs (nits) on the hair shaft next to the scalp. They take 8-12 days to develop and hatch. Hatched eggs may remain on the hair shaft but are not next to the scalp.
What is the school policy for head lice?
- Students must have a treatment with a lice shampoo (pediculocide) before returning to school.
- Parents/guardians should bring their student to the school nurse after a treatment to be rechecked before they can return to class.
- Students must be free of live bugs to attend school.
How do I treat head lice?
- Combing with a nit comb daily
- Use an over the counter lice shampoo such as Nix, Rid, Sklice- Follow the directions exactly.
- A second shampoo treatment may be required in about 10 days.
- Prescription lice shampoos may be obtained from a physician if live lice persist.
- Other treatments such as mayonnaise, margarine, herbal oils, and olive oil have not been proven to be effective.
What else is required to get rid of head lice?
- All family or household members should be checked for head lice.
- Anyone in household with live bugs should be treated at the same time as the student.
- Bedding, towels, stuffed animals, pillows, and clothing that has been in close contact with those with head lice should be wash and dried in a dryer with high heat
- Comb, brushes, and hair accessories used by those with head lice should be rinsed in hot water every day until lice eliminated.
- Vacuuming floors is recommended.
Again, this is strictly to keep parents informed about how we can work together to prevent head lice in our schools. Hopefully, knowing how to recognize head lice early and treat it home can also help reduce student absences from school. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact your child’s school nurse.
Teresa Grigg, BSN, RN
Nixa Schools Lead Nurse