A Word About Lice
Welcome back to school! As we start the year off with Lice Checks, I thought this would be an important article to start with. Just reading the title of this article is probably making you squirm and maybe a little itchy. It’s every parent’s nightmare, but it is important to remember that head lice are only a nuisance, not a serious disease or a sign or poor hygiene.
We follow the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Association of School Nurses. The latest information from the AAP is in a report from the May 2015 issue of Pediatrics is entitled “Head Lice”. The guidelines state that no-nit policies are “unjust and should be abandoned”. Children can finish the school day, be treated and return to school. The guidelines also state that schools are NOT where lice are spread. Most cases of head lice are acquired outside of school. The best way to control any lice outbreak is for parents to check their own children weekly and report any cases to school. Also, please check your own children after any foreign travel. For a professional lice check, we recommend Lice Trooper or any one of the other lice removal companies. There will be another school wide lice check after the January break.
Once a family member is identified with head lice, all household members should be checked. The AAP also does not recommend excessive environmental cleaning any longer, however washing linens and treating hair items are still reasonable measures. Lice do not live any longer than 48 hours off a head.
While obviously we cannot prevent all cases of lice, children should be taught not to share personal items, such as combs, brushes, and hats. Per the article, “regular observation by parents is the best way to detect and quickly treat head lice infestations”. Head lice do crawl from head to head so talking to your children about putting heads together when they take “selfies” is another measure in the prevention on head lice. I have spoken to the students about this in school but we need parents, reminding them at home to get them to realize how important this is.
IF IT TOUCHES THE HAIR, WE DON’T SHARE!
Last but NOT least…please report all cases of lice to either me or your child’s teacher, so the rest of the class can be checked.
Lynn Friedman, RN