What are head lice?
"The head louse, or Pediculus humanus capitis, is a parasitic insect that can be found on the head, eyebrows, and eyelashes of people. Head lice feed on human blood several times a day and live close to the human scalp. Head lice are not known to spread disease." -CDC
The most common way for a student to get head lice is head-to-head contact with an already infested person. This can happen during play at school, at home or anywhere else. Head lice can also be spread by sharing clothing or belongings. To help control head lice cases, parents are encouraged to teach their children to avoid activities that may spread head lice.
What are signs or symptoms of head lice?
- Tickling feeling of something moving in the hair.
- Itching, caused by an allergic reaction to the bites of the head louse.
- Irritability and difficulty sleeping; head lice are most active in the dark.
- Sores on the head caused by scratching. These sores can sometimes become infected with bacteria found on the person’s skin.
What if I think my student may have head lice?
If you think your student may have head lice, you can ask the School Nurse to check them. If head lice are found, you will be asked to take the student home for a treatment. Once the student's head has been treated, he/she may return the following day. The School Nurse will need to check them before they are able to report to class the following day.
What steps does the school take to prevent head lice?
Classrooms and student areas are cleaned on a daily basis. If a student is reported with headlice, the whole class is checked to ensure that no more infestations are present in the room.
What steps can be taken at home to help prevent and control head lice?
- Teach your children to avoid head-to-head contact when they are around other people and not to share clothing such as hats, scarves, coats, etc.
- Vacuum the floors and furniture regularly.
- Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens and any other fabric items regularly.
- Do not lie on beds, couches, pillows, carpets or stuffed animals that have recently been in contact with an infested person.
- If any fabric items cannot be washed during an infestation, the CDC recommends sealing the items in a plastic bag and storing them away for 2 weeks.