Head Lice and Schools

School has started; teachers and care providers are on high alert to eliminate any head lice transfer from a child to another. Head lice are easily transferred in the preschool section, since kids play next to each other.

What are head lice?
Head lice are parasites that live on people’s heads. There are three stages for head lice:
-          Nits: They are lice eggs and often confused with dandruff or hair spray droplets.
-          Nymph: When the egg hatches, it is called nymph. It turns into adult lice after 7 days. It is fed by blood.
-          Adult: The louse is as big as a sesame seed. The female is bigger than the male and lay eggs. Its color is grayish-white. To live, lice need blood. It lives for 30 days on a person’s head. It dies after 2 days if it falls off.

What are the symptoms of head lice infestation?
-          Tickling feeling of something moving in the hair
-          Itching
-          Formation of sores due to scratches
-          Infection of sores
-          Irritability

How does my child get head lice?
-          Contact with a person infested
-          Wearing an infested hat or cap
-          Using an infested comb or towels
-          Sleeping on a bed, couch, cushion that has been infested by a person with lice

How can I treat head lice?
-          Apply lice medicine on your child’s head. You can purchase it from any drug store. Wash your child’s head as per the prescription. Do not re-wash your child’s hair for one or two days after treatment.
-          Change all clothes and wash all the infested ones. Boil if necessary.
-          Change bed’s sheets and cushions. Buy new cushions if possible. Dry clean all clothing or material that are not washable.
-          Soak combs and brushes in an antiseptic solution then wash them with hot water; put them in a bag in the freezer for two days.
-          If some lice are still found in your child’s hair after 12 hours but moving slowly, do no treat again. Sometimes it takes more time to kill them.
-          Brush your child’s hair with special comb to remove dead lice and nits.
-          Re apply the medicine after 10 days.
-          Check your child’s head after 2 weeks to make sure that all nits and lice are gone.
-          It is recommended that you treat all people in the house if you find that your child has head lice.

Remember that head lice do not fly or jump. It is not the sign of poor hygiene. Kids can get infested in preschool. They are not transmitted from pets and they are easy to get rid of. The most important thing is to treat this issue with discretion without embarrassing your child. Your child can attend his school normally and teachers should notify all parents about head lice case in the class.