Concerned about lice? Here is some general information about lice and what to look for. Scroll down if you are wondering what to do if your child has lice.
What to look for?
Head lice are gray, brown, or white and are so small they are difficult to see. Each female lays many eggs a day. The eggs are laid very close to the scalp on the hair shaft (usually within a fourth of an inch from the scalp). Eggs hatch within a week, the lice crawl on the hair and lay more eggs. Head lice feed by sucking blood. Itching and sores develop. Lice can fall on furniture or bedding. Other persons using these articles can be exposed to head lice. Head lice are usually passed person‑to‑person by using the same combs and brushes of infested persons.
How do I find head lice? Now what do I do?
- Part the hair in several places. Look especially in the regions behind the ears and near the neck. Lice move very fast and, therefore, are often difficult to see; however, nits (eggs) can be found. Nits are very small, brown to white, pinhead‑sized droplets on the hair near the scalp. If you pass your finger over the nit it does not slide off the hair easily. (Do not confuse nits with dandruff.)
- Inspect every family member for lice‑‑treating only one person may not get rid of the problem.
- If lice or nits are found, call your doctor. There are several prescription and non‑prescription shampoos available such as NIX, KWELL, A‑200 PYRINATE, or RID. Treat all family members at the same time. The nits (eggs) must be removed by hand. The nits are easier to remove if a half‑and‑half solution of vinegar and water rinse is used on the hair after treatment.
- Wash all bed linens, towels, combs, brushes, and clothing that may be infested.
- Vacuum carpeting and furniture. House sprays are not indicated.
- Notify your child's playmates.
Head Lice Check List:
- Identify lice.
- Treat lice in all family members.
- Treat combs and brushes.
- Wash clothing and bed linens.
- Notify your child's playmates.
- Vacuum carpeting and furniture.
- Recheck head in 8‑10 days and RETREAT if any evidence of lice.
A second treatment is recommended 8‑10 days after first treatment to kill newly hatched lice. The other alternative would be to remove all nits, but such attempts are often not 100% successful. Removing nits is difficult since they are securely cemented to hair shafts, and a few may be overlooked in thick hair. (Removal of nits is required for student to return to classroom in this school district.)
The timing of the second treatment is critical. The pediculicide shampoo should be applied 8‑10 days after the first treatment. Applying the second treatment sooner would probably be a waste of time and money. Waiting 8 days allows all remaining viable eggs to hatch, and these hatched crawling lice are generally more susceptible to the shampoo than are the eggs. However, none of the newly hatched lice will reach reproductive age before the second treatment, and therefore no new eggs will be deposited.
The above information is from recommendations provided by the Maricopa County Health Department and the Arizona Department of Health Services.
IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT ANY NEW CASE OF HEADLICE BE REPORTED TO THE SCHOOL NURSE SO THAT OTHER POSSIBLE EXPOSURES CAN BE CHECKED AND OTHER PARENTS ALERTED FOR ANY CONTINUED OUTBREAK. Be assured that the school nurse makes every effort to maintain confidentiality of known cases.
If you have any questions, you may call the school nurse or your family physician.
If your child has evidence of head lice:
Our district has a "no nit" (lice egg) requirement in order for your child to return to school. Proper treatment with appropriate shampoo or rinse labeled for controlling lice and removal of all eggs is necessary before your child may return.
Treatment will not kill every egg. Egg casings will remain on the hair shaft after treatment. Therefore, it is necessary to remove each egg or "nit" before the child returns to school. Since each egg could hatch and mature an egg‑laying female which could lay up to 500 eggs during its life cycle, the removal of all eggs helps to assure eradication of these human pests.
Your child may not attend school or ride the school bus until he/she has been cleared by the School Nurse.
To have your child readmitted to school you must:
Treat with proper product as per guidelines.
Be sure all eggs have been removed from child's hair.
A responsible adult must bring your child to school. Do not send them to school unattended. Remember children determined to have had lice cannot ride the school bus until they have been cleared by the School Nurse. You child must report directly to the Nurse's Office after 8:00am. Do not send child to his/her regular classroom. Accompanying adult must remain until child has been check by the nurse and determined to be able to return to class. If any live lice or eggs are found, the child must be taken back home immediately to complete elimination of lice or eggs.
Pediculosis (head lice) is not a disease and with proper treatment your child should be ale to return to school within one or two days.
Feel free to call the School Nurse at 623-445-3510 if you have any questions.