Lice Advice

Lice

LICE ADVICE

Head lice infestations occur frequently in schools. Lice are human parasites which live on the head, and they spread between people most frequently by hair-to-hair contact. It is important to remember that lice are not a health hazard.  There is no doubt, however, that head lice are a tremendous nuisance. They are happy to live on any head, adult or child, and they don’t care if your hair is clean or dirty. Lice are also an expensive pest, often forcing parents to miss work and/or pay a professional in order to bring an infestation at home under control.

In order to help the Flint Hill ES community be lice-free, the FHESPTA Lice Advice Committee strongly recommends that community members follow these basic procedures throughout the school year:

 (1) CHECK

  • Once a week, every week: Check the heads of your entire family (adults also) for lice and nits (eggs). This is most easily done when the hair is wet. Check particularly behind the ears and at the base of the neck. Don’t know how? Watch the video “Removing Head Lice Safely”:

  • Instruct your children not to share hair accessories, jackets or hats with friends;
  • Keep any long hair tied back while your child is in school.

(2) REPORT

If you do find lice or nits (eggs) on a family member’s head, in addition to treating the infestation at home (more resources below),

  • Please notify the school nurse,
  • Please notify friends and the families of your children’s classmates, and ask them to spread the word to their friends.

Quick reporting to the school and to your social group is critical. The faster the news spreads, the faster cases can be discovered and treatment can begin, and the sooner the infestation at school and at home will stop.

(3) TREAT

In order to stop an infestation, any live lice must be killed and their eggs must be removed from the hair. Nit-picking (physically removing the lice eggs from the hair) is essential to any treatment’s success.

For basic information about lice and lice treatment, please consult the school nurse for materials, and we suggest the following links:

(4) CHECK AGAIN – FREQUENTLY

A lice infestation will recur if any nits (eggs) were missed in the treatment phase, so daily head checks for live lice and nits for at least two weeks following treatment is essential. After that, return to checking weekly.

(5) INFO TO REDUCE PARENTAL PANIC

The good news about lice is that the beasties need blood and heat to survive, which means that if they fall off a head and can’t get a blood meal in 24 – 48 hours, they’re done for.  This means that if a classroom is infested on Friday, any live lice left behind will be dead of starvation and cold on Monday, without any vacuuming, bagging of jackets, pillows, etc.

The same applies to the nits.  If a hair with a nit on it falls off someone’s head onto anywhere other than another head, it is very unlikely that the nit will mature to a louse.  The nits need heat and moisture to survive, and the temperature and humidity that they like best are on the human scalp.   Take them off the head, and they begin to freeze and dry out and will not mature. Unless the nit-laden shed hair lands – and remains – on another person’s head, that nit is doomed.

Having said this, it is still a good idea to run bedding and possibly infested clothing (jackets, hats) through a nice hot dryer daily during an infestation in order to kill off any live lice that may be lurking.  One does not have to put one’s entire household under quarantine until the place is vacuumed top-to-bottom.  Lack of heat and lack of moisture will kill any lice or nits that are off the head.  Lice are not fleas; they do not jump, and they cannot survive in your furniture or rugs for an extended period of time.

 (6) PRODUCTS AND SERVICES FOR LICE PREVENTION AND TREATMENT

The following products and services for the prevention and treatment of head lice have been recommended by members of the Flint Hill ES community. This is listing does not represent an endorsement of these products and services by either Flint Hill Elementary School or FHESPTA.

Products for Prevention

  • regular use of shampoos and conditioners containing either tea tree oil or rosemary

Products for Treatment

LiceComb

Professional Lice Treatment Services

Looking for further Lice Advice? Please contact the members of the Lice Advice Committee for confidential assistance:

Eliza Morss – eliza.morss@gmail.com