Head Lice Information
Head Lice do not originate in the schools and it is difficult for schools to prevent their spread without a strong school-home partnership where both parties are working together. Because schools bring large numbers of children into close contact daily, the potential for the transmission of head lice exists. The school can be helpful in controlling the spread of head lice by providing educational assistance, notification of infestation and taking some basic actions to keep children at as low a risk as possible.
Important Facts About Head Lice
- Head lice live in human hair and hatch from small eggs, called nits, which attach to the hair shaft.
- Head lice is a condition that each year affects 6 to12 million children between the ages of 3-12 and about 1 in 100 elementary age students.
- Head lice occur in all socioeconomic groups.
- According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school has nothing to do with getting head lice.
- Head lice are typically spread from one child to another through direct head to head contact or by sharing of personal items such as combs, brushes, caps, or helmets.
- Lice do not jump or fly. Head lice move by crawling, not flying or jumping.
- Head lice do not survive long if they fall off a person and cannot feed. In fact, assuming they leave the scalp and do not find another host, head lice will typically starve within 1 to 2 days (a typical weekend break).
If My Student Has Head Lice, What Do I Do?
- Routinely check your own child for head lice and nits and please do not hesitate to call the school if you have concerns.
- When head lice or nits are found, one of the most important components is quick treatment with an APPROVED head lice shampoo, then reapplication if live lice are found. Ask your pharmacist or family physician for an effective and approved treatment product.
- Nit combing should also be performed to get the eggs off of the head. Combing and removal of nits may help to reduce the duration of infestation.
- Machine wash the bed linen, blankets, clothes, towels, coats, hats, etc. in HOT water and dry for at least 30 minutes in a HOT dryer.
- Wash combs, brushes, and hair items.
- Vacuum all carpet, car seats, mattresses, upholstered furniture and floors. Throw away the vacuum bag.
- Bag all stuffed animals or items that cannot be dry-cleaned or washed for two weeks.
- Tell your child not to share these items - hairbrushes, combs, hats, coats, rubber bands, or barrettes.
District Resources on Head Lice
More Information on Head Lice