Today we have had a case of head lice in your child’s class. A student with head lice can be treated and may return to school on the same day as long as no live lice are present. Please check your child’s hair at home and if you find that your child has head lice then we would be grateful if you could let the school nurse know as this will help us to control the situation within our school.
We ask that all parents read the information below.
Head lice symptoms
Most people with head lice do not have any symptoms. Some people feel itching or skin irritation of the scalp, neck and ears. This is caused by a reaction to lice saliva, which the lice inject into the skin during feeding.
Are small wingless insects that are whitish-brown to reddish-brown in colour. They die quickly away from the head and are spread by prolonged direct head-to-head contact. They are most commonly found in hair behind the ears and around the neck.
Head lice eggs (nits)
Nits are the eggs, which are laid close to the scalp. They are small (size of a pinhead) and oval shaped. A live egg will “pop” when squashed between fingernails, dead eggs have crumpled sides, hatched eggs look like shiny white empty eggshells.
How lice spread
Lice spread mainly through prolonged head-to-head, hair-to-hair contact. They do not fly or hop.
Does my child have head lice?
Use a good light source to check the hair. Systematically part the hair, checking the shaft next to the scalp. Live lice are brownish in colour and difficult to see as they are adept climbers and move rapidly at any sign of disturbance. Eggs are dull grey in colour and stick to the shaft of the hair stubbornly. Hatched eggs appear white in colour like small blobs stuck to the hair.
Treating head lice
DO NOT TREAT UNLESS THERE IS EVIDENCE OF HEAD LICE
There is NO evidence to suggest that you need to clean the entire house. ONLY items that have come into direct contact with your child’s head over the last 24-48hours need to be washed, for example hats, pillowcases and hairbrushes. Wash items in hot water ( 66 degrees), drying in a hot dryer for 15mins or alternatively store in an occlusive plastic bag for 2 weeks.
Head Lice Lotion
There are several options for getting rid of head lice, including creams and liquids, and combing. It is important to follow directions carefully to be sure that the treatment works.
If you are sure that your child (over age two years) has head lice, you can use a non-prescription lice treatment. Examine family members and people who have been in close contact at the same time, and treat them if needed. If your child is under age two years, contact the child’s doctor or nurse for treatment advice.
Wet-combing is a way to remove lice from the hair with careful and repeated combing. It is a good option for treating very young children or if you want to avoid using insecticides. By washing the hair normally, and liberally applying conditioner, the lice lose their grip on the hair. The hair should then be combed using a fine nit comb, ensuring that the whole head is combed thoroughly by doing a section at a time. This combing session should take 15 to 30 minutes, depending how long and thick the hair is. Following this, rinse hair as normal. Repeat this procedure on days 5, 9 and 13 in order to make sure all lice are removed as they hatch.
As some eggs are very resilient and can survive the treatment, it is important that any eggs remaining in the hair after treatment be removed. A daily hair check, after and between treatments, is usually required to find and remove all eggs. Nit combs are generally available where treatment is sold and can aid in the removal of eggs. Please take the time to perform DAILY hair checks until no eggs remain. This extra step is critical to prevent the spread of and to eliminate head lice.
Preventing spread of Head Lice
Adults and children who live with a person diagnosed with lice should be examined for lice and treated if live head lice are found.
Please do not panic, head lice do not pose a health risk, are not a sign of poor hygiene and have low transmission rate.
Where to get more information
Your health care provider is the best source of information for questions and concerns related to your medical problem.
Please call the School Nurse 80473588 Extension 2519, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, if you have any questions regarding this matter.
We thank you for your support,
The British School of Beijing, Shunyi Nursing Team