“A Parent’s Guide To Controlling HEAD LICE”
Everett Area SCHOOL district
school HEALTH SERVICES
WHAT are Head Lice?
The head louse is a tiny insect/parasite that lives and breeds on human heads. It is a grayish-tan, wingless, cylindrical insect. Its size is comparable to that of a sesame seed. Head lice infestations are absolutely unrelated to hygiene and, though a nuisance, are relatively harmless.
Head lice do NOT jump or fly; they ONLY crawl. Head lice spread from person to person by crawling during direct head to head contact, which can occur when children are playing or sleeping together. They can also crawl off of items that are shared such as brushes, hats, and headsets.
How to help PREVENT Head Lice:
A common myth is clean, short hair will prevent head lice. This is not true. Lice appear to like hair whether it is clean or dirty, short or long. In fact, most head lice endure the experience of a daily shower and shampoo.
The key to preventing head lice is avoiding contact with infested human hair or objects that harbor head lice.
Parents can teach their children to:
DOES my child have Head Lice?
Head lice may be difficult to spot. The insects themselves are only one to two millimeters long and the nits or eggs are sometimes mistaken for dandruff. Parents can often detect head lice by following these steps:
1. Be attentive for itchy heads and the appearance of nits or eggs in the hair. (Nits are tiny, oval-shaped, silvery brown objects attached to the hair shaft.)
2. Periodically check for head lice throughout the school year. Lice and nits are commonly spotted at the crown of the head, behind the ears, and at the nape of the neck.
3. Check towels after drying your child’s head for signs of lice.
How to TREAT Head Lice:
If you suspect head lice or nits on your child’s head, here are some steps to take.
1. Notify the School Nurse who can provide assistance with the treatment.
2. Apply lice shampoo or treatment products to your child’s head. Follow the directions on how often to reapply the product.
3. Remove ALL the nits/eggs from the hair using a fine-tooth comb or fingernails.
4. To prevent re-infestation, clean your child’s clothes and surroundings.
5. Wash clothing, sheets, blankets and other personal belongings in hot water
6. Dry items on highest setting for 20 minutes.
7. Items that cannot be washed should be sealed in plastic bags for 14 days or placed in a freezer for 48 hours.
8. Vacuum carpets & upholstery.
9. Clean combs/brushes in hot water.
Last Modified on November 28, 2012