When students are in direct head to head contact with an individual that has lice, lice can spread (Frankowski, 2010). Children can come in contact with lice in many places including a friend’s home during sleepovers or during sports activities (Frankowski, 2010). Research indicates that indirect transfer of lice is less likely when brushes combs and hats are shared. (Pollack, Kiszewski, and Speilman, 2000).
Head lice are small insects about the size of sesame seeds and nits (lice eggs) are yellowish white oval eggs attached at an angle to the hair shaft. Nits are most often found at the nape of the neck, behind the ears and at the crown of the head. Itching may be a primary symptom of infestation, although not everyone will necessarily itch. In some cases, it may take 2-3 weeks for itching to begin once an individual has come in contact with lice (Frankowski, 2010). It is important to note that lice cannot survive without a human host for more extended periods of time and they do not live on family pets (Frankowski, 2010).
It is essential that you screen your child regularly thorough out the school year. A head check screening should be included as part of your child’s routine hygiene regime. Please notify the school nurse and communicate directly with close personal contacts and family members if head lice have been detected and treated.
Here is a link to a You Tube video that may be helpful if you have questions regarding screening for lice - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAsfE8AWxzU
To minimize re-infestation please discuss prevention techniques with your child. Remind your child to maintain his or her own body space and avoid direct head-to-head contact when playing. Encourage your child not to play with hair, lend or borrow hair ties, barrettes, hats, combs, or brushes. During a sleepover, have your child bring their own pillow instead of sleeping in a crowded head to head pattern with other children.
By working together, the ultimate goal is to prevent any further cases of head lice.