Letter from the Nurse!
This information is being sent to you as a strategy for lice prevention in school. As with most years, we do have a few students who have lice and my goal here is to try to limit this as best as we can. One of the most effective ways to control the spread of head lice is to encourage parents to check their children’s heads periodically throughout the year. Usually the majority of head lice cases can be traced back to times when students have sleepovers with friends who have no idea they have lice.
Here are a few things you can do before visiting family and friends:
What to look for: Having head lice does not mean your child isn’t clean. In fact, ordinary washing or shampooing will not eliminate lice. You need to apply effective medicine/shampoo to wipe out all the lice and their eggs (nits).
The most common sign of head lice is irritation and intense itching, especially in the hair over the ears and on the back of the neck. There may be red marks on the skin which are the results of irritation from the louse bites.
The presence of nits (eggs) may indicate an active infestation, as does the presence of live lice. Live lice are difficult to detect as they are light sensitive and move quickly. Nits can be found near the scalp on the individual hair shaft. Look closely for tiny, whitish eggs on the hair. They look similar to sesame seeds but are smaller. They are also “glued” to the hair shaft so are difficult to remove. Sometimes dandruff or dry skin will be mistaken for lice, but they will easily flake away from the hair shaft and nits will not.
What to do:
Head lice are spread from one person to another by close physical contact or by shared personal items such as combs, hairbrushes, hats, scarves or hair ribbons. Avoiding such contact is the key to avoiding head lice. This can be difficult in a school setting so here are some suggestions to review with your children:
Do not share another person’s comb, hairbrush or other hair items. Do not wear another person’s hat, scarf or coat. Do not share another person’s pillow. When in school do not have your head touching another person’s head, for example when doing close group work.
If you find your child has head lice, call your physician or local pharmacist for recommendations regarding treatment. I strongly encourage parents to call and notify me so that I can assist with checking your child and working with you to get rid of the nits. It is also advisable to alert close contacts (friends/family/daycare) so they can monitor their children as well. At Bloomingdale School we encourage students to be kind and caring when a friend has head lice. We encourage students to be cautious by following the advice above and keeping their hair pulled back if possible.
Please also note that we do not have a “hat bin” available for students to borrow hats. Please be sure your child has hats, gloves or mittens and all the necessary clothing to play outside during the winter. We do have some hats available for your child to keep if they need a hat. Just let us know or have them visit me.
Thank you in advance for your help in this matter.
Meghan Wolter, RN 897-1753