A case of head lice (pediculosis) has been identified in a classroom. Don’t panic! Head lice are not considered a health hazard as they do not spread disease and/or illness. Head lice among school children are a common frustration; however, the spread of head lice can be controlled and prevented.
Head lice multiply quickly and can spread from person to person easily (especially in children as they have more head to head contact). Having head lice is not associated with age, sex, race, social class or hygiene.
The following information will help you control and prevent the problem of head lice in your home.
- Please check your child (ren)’s head for lice every 2 days for the next 10 days. Using a good light source
(Sunshine works best) check the hair, section by section, especially around the ears, nape of the neck and crown, for live head lice and nits.
- It is also important to check the head of everyone in the household, including your own.
Head lice are tiny (the size of a sesame seed), wingless insects that move quickly and are a grey/brownish color, as a result they are difficult to see. They have six legs for holding on to hair and they can crawl from head to head, but do not fly or jump.
Head Lice egg (nit)
Nits are the eggs of head lice. They are oval or tear-drop shaped, and are often mistaken for dandruff. They are found close to the scalp, behind the ears and at the nape of the neck and are firmly stuck to the hair shaft. Once a nit is laid, it will hatch in 9-10 days.
If you find live head lice, treat it right away.
- Please notify the school, daycare, close friends, etc., that your child has head lice.
- Wash all brushes, combs and hair accessories used within the last 3 days in hot water (66°C or 130° F). All items that were in contact with the affected person(s) within the 3 days prior to treatment (i.e. clothing, jackets, hats, linen, pillows, toys) can be washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer for 15 minutes. Dry clean items that cannot be washed.
- You may wish to vacuum all carpeting and upholstered items that the affected person has come in contact with (i.e. carpets, sofas, chairs, mattresses, car upholstery). Extensive housecleaning is not necessary as head lice and nits do not live off the head for more than 3 days. Nits are not likely to hatch at room temperature.
If head lice are not found, continue to inspect your child/children’s head once a week. You can also help prevent head lice by:
- Discouraging children from sharing combs, brushes, hats, scarves, hair accessories, or earphones.
- Tying long hair in ponytails or braids.
Your co-operation is an important part of the efforts being made to completely control the spread of head lice in the school.
Kid’s Village Preschool