Lice

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I'd like to share some information about a situation that affects schools across the country, often as the school year begins. Pediculosis, or head lice, is a condition that each year affects approximately 6 to 12 million children between the ages of 3 and 12 years of age, and about 1 in every 100 elementary school children. Head lice are parasites that are generally found on the scalp, around the ears, and at the back of the neck.

Head lice is not a sign of poor hygiene and they do not transmit disease. Spread from one child to another can occur during direct head to head contact or by sharing of personal items such as combs, brushes, caps or helmets. Transmission within a school setting is actually very low. One thing parents can do is check children before and after a sleep-over at a friend's house or upon arrival home from a sleep away camp. It is also a good idea to routinely check your child's hair. The most common symptom of head lice is itching and head scratching, particularly at night. Red bite marks or sores may also be noticed on the scalp.

If you suspect that your child has head lice, he or she should be examined by your health care provider. Safe and effective products to treat head lice are available both over the counter and by doctor's prescription. It is important to follow the directions carefully. * Extra caution is recommended for use by pregnant women when using any of the lice treatment chemicals. Parents should also wash in hot water or dry-clean all recently worn clothing, hats, used bedding, and towels. Personal care items such as combs, brushes and hair clips should also be washed in hot water. Toys, such as stuffed animals, can be put into a tightly closed plastic bag for 14 days or placed in a hot dryer for 30 minutes to kill the lice.

If your child is found to have lice, I will contact you so that you may begin treatment. A child returning to school following treatment will need to be checked by the nurse prior to going to the classroom.

Our goal as school nurses is to provide you with the information you need to safeguard your child's health, and ensure that his or her education is not disrupted, but remains the most positive experience possible.

I hope you find the following links helpful and as always, please contact me with any questions.

Cheryl Cerdan, RN

Head Lice Information

Kids Health Head Lice Website

 

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