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Health News from Nurse Lynn: Yikes! It's Lice!

Nurse Lynn Friedman, RN

Following our January break, a school wide lice check will be done on Wednesday, January 30.  Many of you are now thinking, "But we return on the 28th!" In my experience, many families do not return on time and waiting a few days provides a much better result.  Please remember, lice do not fly or jump and only spread by head to head contact. The chance of a school wide spread in those two days is relatively next to impossible if you caution your children before hand.  In school we say, “If it touches the hair, we don’t share”. Caution your child not to share anything that touches their heads, girls should be wearing their hair up and back and selfies with heads together are a no no.  

So far this year, we have had only a few cases of lice; however, there is usually a case or two throughout the school year at any given time.  While we do checks on DRY hair in school, it is not the best method of finding lice. Ultimately, it is up to you, our parents, to help us keep lice under control.  

Many of you may be thinking “Oh, not me, my house is immaculate, and my kids have never once complained about being itchy." That doesn’t mean they don’t have lice! Early on, kids don’t necessarily experience any symptoms.  More so, lice are not something that starts in your home. Ninety-nine percent of the time your child will catch it elsewhere and pinpointing the source is practically impossible.

So it is absolutely critical that each and every parent routinely check their kids at home with the following method described below as that is the most efficient and effective way to determine if your child has lice or not

  1. Purchase a good quality METAL nit/lice comb. These can easily be found on Amazon or any drug store.

  2. Thoroughly wet you child’s hair and lather well with conditioner.  Pantene is recommended as it is thick and white.  The conditioner helps immobilize the live lice which are very difficult to find.

  3. Brush or comb the hair first to get rid of any knots or tangles

  4. Once tangle free, run the nit comb through the hair beginning at the baseline of the hair, all the way through to the ends. Make sure to do the nape of the neck and behind the ears, as well.

  5. Wipe the comb onto a dry piece of white paper towel after each comb through to check for any lice or nits.

If your child has any lice or nits (eggs) – YOU WILL SEE THEM. Don’t worry about what to look for.

Please take these precautions to help us rid our school of this pesky problem:

  1. Check your children weekly at home for bugs and nits (lice eggs) using the method described above.  Routine screening and early detection at home are the only way to keep lice under control. If you suspect or find lice on your children, please contact the school immediately so that we can check the other children in the class. This will be done discretely and no one will know which child actually had the lice.

  2. If your child is diagnosed, please do not send your child to school until he or she has been treated and all the nits have been removed.

  3. If your child has head lice, please check all family members, including Mom and Dad.  Fifity percent of the time, mom and dad will have it as well.

  4. Should lice or nits be found, you must continue to check your child’s head daily for at least two weeks.

  5. Sleepovers!! These are usually where the problems start.  If a sleepover is planned, recommend to the parents to check their own children prior to the party.  Also, caution the children before the party starts to not share brushes, combs, or hair accessories.

Lice Troopers, who comes to our school, recommends the use of garlic oil to help keep away the lice. They say if you use it on a daily basis, it works and there is no smell. We also request that girls keep their hair in either a pony tail or braid. Lice have been around for thousands of years and are not going anywhere soon, however, if we all work together, we can certainly keep it under control.

Lynn Friedman, RN
School Nurse


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