All About Head Lice
Head Lice are a problem in all schools and a real nuisance for many families. There is no stigma with a child having lice as anyone can catch them and they are contagious.
If we identify a child with head lice we call the family and ask that the child be taken home and treated. Children cannot return to school until they have been treated. We also let other children in the class know. In the past we have sent home a letter; we will now be sending home a pamphlet with more details about how lice can be treated. We have information on our school website about head lice treatment.
- It pays to check children’s hair regularly in order to be proactive. Especially make a point of checking older children’s hair as parents don’t tend to do their child's hair as they get older so lice can go undetected.
- Brush hair every evening - this may help kill or injure lice and stop them laying eggs.
- Don’t share brushes or combs.
Treating Head Lice
- Treat hair if live insects are found on the scalp or if eggs are found within 1 cm of scalp.
- If lice are found check the whole family as other members may be affected.
- Treat all affected family members at the same time.
- A special shampoo is available from chemist shops which kills eggs and lice – discuss this with your pharmacist.
- Dead eggs left on the hair can be removed by combing conditioner through the hair with a fine tooth comb.
- Re check a week after treating to ensure there are no live lice or eggs.
DO NOT use fly spray, kerosene or animal remedies as these can be harmful for children.
Facts About Head Lice
- Head lice are small, flat insects that grow to about 3mm long. They breed all year.
- They live on human scalps as it provides food and warmth for the eggs to hatch.
- They feed on blood from the scalp about 5 times a day - hence you may see a rash or sores when looking for lice.
- They cannot jump, fly or swim
- They do not carry disease.
- They remain on the head after bathing or swimming.
- Female lice lay up to 10 eggs a night. The eggs (nits) are small and hard (like a grain of sand) and normally pale grey. After hatching the cases are white.
- Eggs hatch in 9 days and a louse will live for 40 days.
- Head lice do not live more than 48 hours off the scalp.
- Eggs are often laid behind the ears, around the crown or around the hairline at the back of the neck.
- Eggs are laid next to the scalp and hair grows about 1cm a month so any eggs found more than 1 cm from the scalp will have hatched and died.