Lice Happens TISD Lice Policy

Lice Happens....Unfortunately!

If you have young children, you will more than likely deal with a lice outbreak at one time or another during the elementary years. Having lice does not mean you live in a dirty environment, or that you are a dirty person. In fact, lice LOVE clean hair!

There are products on the market to help you identify lice much easier than looking for them with your naked eye. In the clinic, I often use a battery operated lice comb that makes a constant, high pitched noise and the noise will stop when you catch a louse in the comb. This has made detecting lice much easier in a shorter period of time. The comb is cleaned between each use. There are a few companies that make a battery operated lice comb and you can find them online and in the local pharmacies. Please note that school nurses can even miss finding lice if the infestation is a very new one and the lice are very small and have not laid any eggs yet. That is why it is important to check your child’s hair often- at least once a week.

Tomball schools adhere to a “no live lice policy”. This means a child with lice must be sent home for proper treatment and can return to school the following day if no live lice remain in the hair.

In order to help all parents and staff deal more effectively with lice, please notify the nurse or the child’s teacher if you treated your child for lice. The day after you treat for lice, please send the student to school with a note to see the nurse so she can check to make sure their hair is clear. Also, the nurse will send a letter home to parents if even one case of live lice is discovered in a classroom. (This letter does not mention the child's name.) It is important to check your child's hair/scalp as soon as the letter arrives home. Catching a lice outbreak quickly saves you a lot of time and money.

Ways to help prevent a lice outbreak or re occurrence in your family:

Once a week, take a peek! Every week, make sure you are checking your child’s hair for lice and nits (eggs). A recent infestation will show eggs on hair strands very near to the scalp (within ¼ inch of the scalp). Eggs found over an inch from the scalp are likely empty and were from a previous lice outbreak. (Not all kids will itch a lot when they have lice so an infestation may get missed.)

• The battery operated lice comb mentioned above is the prefect tool to check hair weekly. It will catch tiny (baby) lice hardly visible to the naked eye.

• The single best way to break the life cycle of the lice is to comb out ALL of the eggs as you are treating the hair, and repeat the treatment in 7-9 days.

• Put girls’ hair up in ponytails while at school.

• Follow the product instructions exactly when treating the hair.

Suzanne Hernandez, RN

Lakewood Nurse, 281-357-3260, press 2

What are Head Lice?

• Head lice are tiny gray to brown insects about the size of a sesame seed that live in human hair and must feed on human blood to live.

• They lay tiny white oval-shaped eggs about the size of a knot in a thread. Lice glue their eggs to each strand of hair close to the scalp.

• Lice eggs and live lice are most often found in the hair behind the ears and at the back of the head and neck.

• The first sign of lice is itching of the head which is caused by the bite of the head lice.

How do You Get Head Lice?

• Head lice happen mostly with elementary school-aged children.

• Children get lice from other children through head to head contact during play or sports or nap time and often in school settings.

• Sometimes sharing combs, hats or brushes with a louse infested child can spread head lice.

• You can’t spread the eggs…only live lice.

• Head lice do not spread disease - they are not a public health threat and therefore lice cases are not tracked by the Department of State Health Services.

• Any child can get head lice. It doesn’t matter where they live or go to school, boy or girl, black, white or brown. It doesn’t mean the child is sick or unclean. It certainly doesn’t mean they have bad parents.

• Children get head lice almost as much as the common cold. Millions get it at least once a year.

How Do You Get Rid of Head Lice?

The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends the following treatment for head lice and their eggs:

1. Use an over-the-counter FDA-approved shampoo treatment that you find at the drug or grocery store. Follow the directions on the packaging exactly.

2. Remove as many eggs as possible with a special comb that comes with the head lice treatment.

3. Treat your home at the same time you treat your child. Do the following:

• Soak combs and brushes for 5-10 minutes in some of the lice shampoo for 1 hour or in very, very hot water (over 130 degrees).

• Wash sheets, blankets and other bedding in the hottest setting of water in the washing machine. Dry in a hot dryer.

• Dry-clean non-washable items or seal these items in a plastic bag for 1 week or tumble them in a very hot dryer.

• Vacuum furniture, carpets and mattresses thoroughly.

4. Treat hair a second time 7 to 10 days after the first treatment (or follow the instructions of the manufacturer of the lice treatment) to make sure that you kill any lice that may have hatched from eggs that might have been missed during the combing. This is a very important step to break the life cycle and prevent re-infestation.

5. There is no need to cut hair. Lice like to crawl on short hair just as much as long hair and they need the same treatment.

How Do You Keep Lice From Coming Back?

• Teach family members to recognize eggs and how lice are spread and check everyone’s hair periodically.

• If you find lice, follow the recommended treatment closely. It should be reported to the school nurse.

• Remind children not to share combs, brushes, hair accessories, hats, clothing, bedding, coats and so forth.

From David Shannon's Book - "Bugs in My Hair!"
Created By
Laurie Taylor


Created with images by Bess-Hamiti - "child model girl" • Eran Finkle - "Head louse - כינת הראש"

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