Each year many children, throughout the country, are found to have head lice. The following is being sent home for your information. *Please keep it for your review throughout the school year.
Anyone, adult or child can get head lice. The most common symptom of infestation is intense itching on the back of the head or neck. Head lice cannot survive without a human host, or on family pets.
Head lice are passed from person to person by direct contact or on shared objects, such as hats, combs, towels, barrettes, headphones, etc…. Please teach your child to keep these things to himself and not share.
If you do find head lice, do not panic - just follow the steps below to easily take care of the problem.
1. Check every member of the family. Lice are hard to spot, so look for tiny white or tan teardrop shaped eggs (nits) on hair shafts, near the scalp, especially at the nape of the neck and behind the ears. Head lice are small, wingless, grayish-tan insects. All family members must be treated when one family member is found to have lice or nits.
2. Use and effective head lice treatment. Several are available without a prescription. Contact your doctor or pharmacist for their recommendation. Before using any lice shampoo, read and carefully follow all the directions printed on the carton and bottle label. No lice product is 100% effective. Re-treatment of all initially infested persons in 8 to 10 days is recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to ensure complete elimination of the infestation. Do not use more than the recommended amount of treatment.
3. Remove all nits. Gently comb the child's hair with the special metal nit removal comb. Our school requires students to be nit-free before they can be readmitted.
4. Wash clothes, bed lines and towels. Use hot, soapy water, then dry on the hot cycle for at least 20 minutes. Items such as stuffed animals, headphones and hats that are not machine washable can be dry cleaned or stored at room temperature in a tightly sealed plastic bag for at least 2 weeks.
5. Soak combs, brushes, etc… in hot water. The hotter the better, but the temperature should be at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Items should soak for at least 10 minutes. Combs and brushes may also be soaked in alcohol for 1 hour.
6. Vacuum everywhere. To make sure the rest of your home is louse-free, you should vacuum carpets, pillows, mattresses, upholstered furniture and the seats of the car.
By working together and being vigilant, we can minimize the spread of head lice in our school community. Please notify the school nurse if you know or suspect your child has head lice. Relatives and other close contacts should also be notified.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me at 908-735-7283 if you have any questions.
Mary Ellen Bowlby, RN
Last Modified on February 13, 2009