Head Lice

HEAD LICE PROTOCOL

A message from BRPS:

Dear Parents/Guardians:

Our goal is to provide you with information to increase head lice awareness.  This is intended to educate, safeguard your child's health, and ensure that his or her education is not disrupted.  We hope you find this information useful in taking steps at home to help prevent your child from encountering head lice.

Anytime children come together, particularly at the start of the school year or any social grouping like girl/boy scouts, birthday party sleepovers, etc, head lice cases commonly increase.  Please encourage your child not to share or trade personal items that come in tact with their hair.  Direct physical head-to-head contact is how the lice are generally spread. Lice do not jump, fly or swim.  They are, however, good crawlers.

Check your child's head weekly for lice and/or nits (lice eggs).  Mature lice, which are no bigger than a sesame seed, avoid light and are hard to see.  They usually cause intense itching.  Lice eggs or "nits" are found close to the scalp - usually within 1/4 inch.  They appear as tiny whitish ovals that are "glued" to the hair shaft.  They cannot easily be flicked away as dandruff can.  Head lice are not harmful and cannot cause disease.  They cannot survive on pets.  ANYBODY can get head lice.

If you find head lice on your child, please treat appropriately.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the elementary office.  Please notify the school office and keep him/her home until treated and lice and nits are removed.  Continue to examine all family members for two weeks.  Repeat treatment only if needed.

Thank you for your help and support.

 

Sincerely,

The Black River Staff & Administration

As a reminder, BRPS aligns our head lice protocol with state recommended guidelines. Please note to eliminate any possible embarrassment or ridicule, we do not pull children from class for school wide or classroom wide lice checks. Although we reserve the right to check at our discretion, we are advising parents to become more involved in the steps to prevent the transmission of head lice. 

All elementary classrooms have a lice manual and additional resources available. Additionally, a website which includes the guidelines BRPS follows can be found at: 
http://www.michigan.gov/documents/
Final_Michigan_Head_Lice_Manual_106828_7.pdf.

 

If head lice are found on your child:

- Check others in the household for signs of head lice or nits. If found, complete remaining steps on all infested individuals.

- Use an effective head lice treatment.

- Remove nits from the head by combing. This is the most important lice control measure. Complete nit removal is time-consuming but is critical for successful treatment.

- Remove all of the lice and nits from the environment by washing or vacuuming. Please wash your child’s clothing, bedding, towels, stuffed animals, car seats, hats and combs in hot water (160 degrees if possible). 

- There is no need to spray pesticides at home.

- Perform daily head checks and remove nits for 3 weeks until head lice are gone.

- Continue to check your child weekly to detect reinfestation.

If you have difficulties treating the head lice on your child, please contact the local health department, or your child’s physician.

MYTHS & FACTS

It is easy to get lice. 

Lice are spread by head-to-head contact and are much harder to get than a cold, the flue, ear infections, pinkeye, strep or impetigo.

Avoiding lice is important, as they are dirty and spread disease.
Lice do not spread any known disease, nor are they impacted by hygiene.

Head lice are very sturdy creatures and can survive many days off a human head in furniture, linens and clothing.
Head lice need a blood meal every few hours in addition to the warmth and humidity of the human scalp to survive. when off the human body, in optimal conditions, they cannot survive for more than 24 to 36 hours.

Nits (lice eggs) can fall off a person's head, hatch, and cause another person to get lice.
Nits are glued to the hair shaft by a cement-like substance and are very hard to remove. When a numph is hatched, it must quickly have the warmth and food source of a head to survive.

Cutting a person's hair will prevent head lice infestations.
The length of a person's hair does not prevent head lice infestations.

You can get head lice from sitting at a desk next to someone who is infested with head lice.
Head lice are spread through DIRECT head-to-head contact.  The lice do not hop, jump, or fly, so sitting near someone with head lice does not increase the risk of getting the lice.

Lice are commonly spread throughout school.
Transmissions in school are rare.  It is more common to get head lice from family members, overnight guests, and playmates who spend a lot of time together.

Schools and child-care facilities should screen all children for head lice, so everyone can be treated and the spread of head lice will be prevented.
Having regularly scheduled mass screenings does not reduce the incidence of head lice.

"No-nit" policies reduce the risk of head lice in schools and child-care facilities.
Research shows "no-nit" policies do not decrease the number of cases of head lice.  They do increase the risk of incorrect diagnosis of head lice, the number of days children are out of school, and negative social stigma associated with head lice.  They also may hinder academic performance.

You can get lice from your dog or other pets.
Head lice are specific to humans.  You can get human lice only from other humans.  You cannot give your pets lice.

Prevention

The best way to prevent transmission:

Teach children not to share combs, brushes, hair ornaments, hats, caps, scarves, headsets, or any other personal headgear.

Do not try on other people’s hats (even in department stores).

Teach children to hang coats separately - placing hats and scarves inside coat/jacket sleeves.

Clean or disinfect shared headgear (i.e., helmets) with Lysol® or rubbing alcohol before being used by others

Conduct regular head checks of your child.

513 Columbia Avenue
Holland, MI 49423
Phone: 616.355.0055 x302