Our school nurse, Jackie Degnan, has provided us with information about lice detection, treatment and CMS policies.
What to look for:
- Head scratching and intense itching of the scalp are the most noticeable signs of head lice.
- Head lice are very small and are hard to see. Look at the hair and scalp under a good light. When you part the hair, lice which are very small gray bugs, will run from the light.
- You may first notice nits (tiny white or brownish oval shaped eggs which stick to the individual hair strands near the scalp). Nits will hatch into lice in about a week.
When checking your child’s head, if you find any live lice, your child will need to be treated before returning to school. Everyone in your home and anyone who has close contact with your child, such as playmates, should also be checked for lice.
STEPS TO FOLLOW FOR HEAD LICE
- Check the heads of all family members and close contacts. Check hair, especially behind ears and back of neck for live lice. Lice are very small and hard to see. Adult lice are about the size of a sesame seed and move very quickly when the hair is parted. Look for lice eggs (nits). Nits will look like white to light brown oval specks “glued” to the strands of hair, very close (¼ inch) to the scalp. Make sure you check the hair in good light.
- Ask a pharmacist or your doctor about which product to use to remove lice. Carefully read and follow directions of the head lice product. Only family members and close contacts with live head lice and nits should be treated. Do not wash hair with a conditioning shampoo or use a hair conditioner before using the lice product. Do not use a conditioning shampoo or a hair conditioner for 1 week after using the head lice product.
- Remove nits from the hair. Gently use nit comb (metal works best) or use your fingers to pull nits from the single strands of hair. Rinse nit comb or fingers in a sink or bowl of warm water and wipe dry after each stroke.
- You may want to buy a new comb and brush for your child or family members to use after they have been treated for lice. If you do not buy a new comb and brush, make sure the comb and brush are washed and free of lice and nits before using them again. You may soak them in hot water (at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit) for 5-10 minutes.
- Wash clothing worn in the past 2 – 3 days and bed sheets, towels, and pillowcases in hot water; then dry in the hot cycle of the dryer. If items cannot be washed in hot water or dried on a hot cycle in the drier, put the items in a sealed plastic bag for 10 days or place the sealed bag in the freezer for 48 hours. Vacuum the carpet, rugs, and fabric covered furniture where the person with the live lice may have sat or lay.
- The product that you use to treat for lice may require a second treatment in 7-10days. Make sure you follow the product’s directions for treatment.
- If live head lice or new nits are found after you have treated for lice, consult your school nurse or health care provider.