Lice are an annoying reality that unfortunately we face in our schools, and in other public areas (like movie theaters, airplanes, day care/play facilities, etc.). Lice do not care about your social status or income.
Unfortunately, lice are not cute, nor as easy to spot as in the cartoon on the left.
Although lice are not life threatening, they can be disruptive to your everyday way of life.
Help! My child has lice
Pediculosis (Head Lice) Policy
The problem of head lice and nits (pediculosis) is ongoing and can be difficult to control at home and at school. Even though lice and nits are not a major threat to health, they are a nuisance and are easily spread. The district has established a strict policy of controlling head lice. When a student is identified as having head lice, the student will be excluded immediately. Return to school is permitted when the hair has been treated with a lice shampoo and there are no live lice in the hair, even though nits (eggs) are still present.
Re-infestation and/or recurrent infestation will result in exclusion until student is lice-free. The School Attendance Review Board may intervene in case of noncompliance or chronic infestations.
Tips and Information for Parents
WHAT ARE HEAD LICE?
Head lice are tiny, wingless, grayish-tan insects that live and breed in human hair. They hatch from small eggs, called nits, which attach themselves to the base of individual hairs. The eggs hatch in about seven to ten days, with new lice reaching maturity in about two weeks. Adult females only live up to 30 days and can lay up to 150 eggs during their life span. Due to their rapid maturity, head lice must be treated promptly.
HOW ARE THEY DETECTED?
Itching of the head and back of the neck can indicate head lice. To check for infestation, carefully examine the hair around the back of the neck and behind the ears. Look for scratch marks, redness or a rash on the scalp. Since head lice shy away from light, you may only see their eggs (nits), small whitish ovals of uniform size attached to the hair shaft. Nits can be light or dark in color, are very difficult to remove and appear to be “glued” to the hair (unlike dandruff which is easily brushed away).
PLEASE CHECK YOUR CHILD WEEKLY FOR HEAD LICE AND ALERT THE SCHOOL IMMEDIATELY IF YOU FIND HEAD LICE
It just takes one live nit hatching for re-infestation to begin all over again.
HOW DOES HEAD LICE SPREAD?
Head lice are very contagious. Transmission occurs in several ways: by playing “head to head” games, close personal contact such as hugging, or by sharing personal items (such as combs, hairbrushes, hair ribbons, barrettes, headbands, hats, headphones, or other headgear, scarves, sleeping bags, bedding, stuffed animals, and backpacks). It is important to remind your children of the reasons for not sharing these items. Personal cleanliness does not prevent a person from getting head lice.
TREATMENT AND CONTROL OF HEAD LICE AND NITS
When lice are found on a family member, all persons in the home (as well as all playmates and other close contacts) should be examined. As a general rule, only those persons with head lice should be treated. There are also services that you can go to if you need help. Google “Lice Treatment San Diego”
THE SCHOOL MUST BE NOTIFIED IF YOUR CHILD HAS HEAD LICE
1. Use an effective head lice treatment. There are several shampoos available over-the-counter at your local drug store. Follow the directions on the container. Other home-type remedies such as Vaseline, mayonnaise, shower caps, etc. are not effective against head lice. Consult your pediatrician if your child has allergies. None of the commercially available products kills 100% of the nits 100% of the time.
2. Removal of all nits is the most effective way to get rid of head lice. Use a fine-tooth comb or “nit” comb to aid in nit removal (metal combs work better than plastic). Check especially at the nape of the neck, behind the ears and under bangs. It is not necessary to cut the child’s hair to assist in nit removal.
3. Continue to check the child daily for ten days to avoid re-infestation since nits can hatch in seven to ten days. If any nits or lice occur, retreat the child. If no nits are found after ten days, you have probably conquered the lice. Continue to check on a weekly basis for the following month, and then bi-weekly.
4. Carry out household precautions at the same time you treat the child.
A. Wash clothes, bed linens and towels in hot water for at least 20 minutes.
B. Items such as stuffed animals and hats that are not machine washable must be dry cleaned or stored at room temperature in a tightly sealed plastic bag for three days.
C. Combs and brushes should be soaked for 20 minutes in a solution made of ammonia and hot water and then washed out afterwards with regular soap.
D. Vacuum everywhere, all rugs, pillows, mattresses, and furniture, and don’t forget the car! In most cases, household cleaning and vacuuming will remove nits and lice that may have fallen on rugs and furniture. Lice sprays may pose personal health and environmental hazards and are not recommended.