CATALINA FOOTHILLS SCHOOL DISTRICT
HEAD LICE: A Letter from the School Health Office
We have had some cases of pediculosis (head lice) reported at OGMS. There has been a resurgence of head lice in recent years. Anyone can get head lice regardless of income, age, sex, race and neighborhood. Head lice are very tiny insects that live on the scalp of humans. They can spread very fast from person to person through direct contact with combs, bedding, articles of clothing or head gear of an infected person. Persons who have head lice may have persistent head scratching. It is hard to see head lice as they move quickly and shy away from light. The nits, or eggs, are tiny, pinpoint size, round glistening pearl-like beads attached firmly to the hair shaft close to the scalp. Nits can resemble flakes of dandruff but cannot be easily removed because they adhere to the hair shaft with a “glue” like substance. They are commonly found behind the ears and at the nape of the neck.
Please check your child’s head and other members of your family. If you find nits or head lice proceed with the following instructions. All cases must be reported to the school health office.
1. Shampoo the hair with an appropriate shampoo or cream rinse which is labeled for controlling lice. Some examples include Nix and Rid. These and other products are available at your local drug store, or they may be prescribed by a doctor. A second treatment in 7 to 10 days after the initial treatment may be necessary to kill remaining eggs depending on the product used. Be sure to follow the directions on the label!!! Do not use remedies or products that are not labeled for controlling lice as these may not work and they may even be harmful. After shampooing, rinse hair thoroughly and rub dry with a clean towel. After shampooing, comb the hair to remove remaining lice and nits.
2. The MOST important treatment is to "Comb Out" EVERY louse and nit! Comb well with a clean, fine-toothed comb to manually remove lice and loosen the nits. Some of the most effective combs on the market are the LiceMeister or the Robi Comb (see RobiComb.com), which are available at many drugstores or online. The National Pediculosis Association has the LiceMeister comb and also a very informative website. Go to www.HeadLice.org or call 1-888-542-3634 for assistance. Other excellent advice is from the Harvard School of Public Health: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/headlice.html
3. Wash all dirty clothing, linens and towels in a hot or warm wash cycle. Non-washable items may be dry-cleaned, or they may be vacuumed and sealed in a black plastic bag for two weeks.
4. Soak combs, brushes, hair picks, etc. in hot (almost boiling) water for at least 15 minutes.
5. Vacuum car seats, chairs, couches and other furniture where the children sit, sleep or play in order to remove lice or loose hair that may have nits attached. Lice only live for 1-2 days off a human head. You do not need to apply household pesticides. Pets do not harbor head lice.
6. Teach your child to avoid getting head lice by not sharing hats, combs, brushes, scarves or coats. Continue DAILY head checks for nits and live lice for 2 weeks and then on a regular basis at home.
Thank you for your help and attention in the efforts to keep our school’s students healthy learners. Please contact the school health office, PIMA COUNTY HEALTH DEPT. (243-7797) or your health care provider with any further questions.
Allison Holmes and Lyndee Jones