• Head Lice

     General Information:

    Head lice are insects that are the approximate size of a sesame seed and their eggs or nits may be even smaller, which causes them to be difficult to see.  Head lice may be white, brown or dark gray in color.  Each female louse may lay many eggs (also known as nits) a day.  These eggs are round or oval and appear as "specks" in your hair.  These eggs are laid close to the scalp on the hair shaft and are "glued" to the hair shaft.  If you try to slide the nits off of the hair, they will not move as they are "stuck" or attached to the hair shaft.  Once the eggs begin to hatch (which is normally within a week of being layed) the lice crawl on the hair and begin to lay more eggs. They are most commonly found behind the ears and along the back of the neck.  

      Head lice infestation is NOT an indication of poor hygiene.  Having clean or dirty hair doesn't influence if you get head lice. They affect children at all levels of income, social class and cleanliness.  Head lice infestations happen with direct head to head contact.  Sharing brushes, combs, hair ties/bows/ scrunchies, hats and putting heads together to take selfies can cause head lice infestation if one of the participants already has active lice.  Head lice do not fly, jump or swim.

     Symptoms:

     Some of the symptoms your child may experience are:

         -"Tickling" feeling or sensation of something moving in hair or on scalp

         - Itching of scalp

         - Scratching may cause sores or raw skin on scalp

         - Irritability or difficulty sleeping (lice are most active in the dark)

         - Visible signs of active lice

     How to detect/find Head Lice:

     1.  Have your child sit down in front of you and part their hair in several different places on their head. Look especially in the areas behind their ears and near the neck. 

     2.  Lice move very fast and therefore are often difficult to see.  Nits (eggs) are more easily found. They will be very small and white to brown, approximately the size of a pinhead or a sesame seed and will be located on the hair shaft close to the scalp.  If you pass your finger over the nit, it will not move or slide off of the hair easily.  Do not confuse nits with dandruff. 

     If Head Lice or Nits are Found (per the Maricopa County Health Department)

      1.  Inspect every family member for lice---treating only one family member may not get rid of the problem if more than one family member is affected.

      2.  Call your family physician.  There are several prescription and non-prescription shampoos such as NIX, KWELL, A-200 PYrinate, or RID available.

      3.  Treat all family members at the same time.

      4.  Apply shampoo as directed by physician or package instructions.  The nits must be removed by hand and/or with a special comb utilized specifically for nit removal. This comb can be found with most over-the counter lice kits. Once the shampoo has been applied and massaged into hair as directed, separate the hair into very small sections and utilize a delousing comb and comb through each small hair section multiple times from the scalp to the end of the hair.  Repeat until all the hair has been combed through.  This is a long, pain staking process (especially with thick hair), but it must be done completely and thoroughly.  The nits are easier to remove if a half‑and‑half solution of vinegar and water rinse is used on the hair after treatment. 

      5.  Wash all clothes, bed linens, towels, combs, brushes, hair ties/bows/scrunchies and hats in hot water and dry on high heat setting.

      6.  Vacuum mattress, furniture and carpeting.  House sprays are not indicated.

      7.  Notify your child's closest playmates/friends.

      8.  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 students to return to classrooms 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.

            **Note: IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THAT ANY NEW CASE OF HEAD LICE BE REPORTED TO THE SCHOOL NURSE SO THAT OTHER POSSIBLE STUDENT EXPOSURES CAN BE CHECKED.  Be assured that the school nurse makes every effort to maintain confidentiality of known cases.

     Our district has a "No NIT" 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 to school.

    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 bus until he/she has been treated and then cleared by the School Nurse.  

    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. Your child must report directly to the Nurse's Office after 8:00am. Do not send a child to his/her regular classroom. The accompanying adult must remain until the child has been checked 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. 

     Resources: 

        Professional Head Lice Removing Companies:

               There are companies that offer professional Head Lice removal that will do the delousing of your child's hair for a fee. A couple of companies that have been previously used and recommended by parents of former Hillcrest students are:

     

                   No NIT Noggins-----623-226-8797     https://nonitnoggins.com

                                   7170 West Camino San Xavier Suite D-116,  Glendale