Head Lice (Pediculosis)A common occurrence that occurs in grade school. Lice are tiny insects that are difficult to see and require a human host. Some common myths are that lice can fly, jump or are a sign of poor hygiene (all are untrue). Lice crawl, are wingless, approximately the size of a sesame seed and anyone can get lice. Lice can be confused with dandruff, hairspray debris, or dirt debris. One way to determine if it is lice or dandruff it to flick/gently run finger along hair, if removes easily it is dandruff. Lice produce a sticky substance that allows them to adhere to the hair and are difficult to remove by just flicking or gentle pulling. Head lice is transmitted via head to head contact. Contact most commonly occurs during play, sharing clothing, hats, hair ribbons, and slumber parties.Signs/Symptoms of head lice:
- Itchy head or tickling sensation (most common)
- Feelings of something moving through the hair or on the head
- Sores on the head from scratching
- Difficulty sleeping as lice are more active at night
- Over the counter treatment kits may be found at most grocery stores, CVS/Walgreens, Target/Walmart. Treatment must be repeated 7-10 days after the first application.
- Nonpharmacological treatment can be used for parents who prefer to avoid chemical treatment. Nonpharmacological treatment requires rigorous wet combing every 3 days for 2 weeks, although cure rate is significantly improved with combing every 24 hours for 2 weeks.
- Avoid head to head contact
- Do not share brushes, combs, or towels (disinfect by soaking in hot water, at least 130 degrees)
- Do not share clothing, hats, scarves, barrettes, hair ribbons, coats, etc.
- Perform weekly hair/head checks
- Encourage your child not to hug friends or share clothing, hats, or hair ties.
- After slumber parties increase hair/head inspections, wash and dry clothing/bedding in water that is at least 130 degrees.
- Children with long hair should keep their hair contained with a ponytail, braid, etc., this will decrease the likelihood of hair to hair transmission during play and close contact during school activities.
If your child has lice please inform the school nurse 602-467-5310. Information is kept confidential.Remember, Lice can and does happen to anyone.
Please feel free to visit the CDC or Mayo Clinic websites for more information regarding head lice.