Headlice

Fighting Head Lice

 What are head lice?

Head lice are small insects with six legs. They are very small, about the size of a pin head or a sesame seed. They like to live very close to the hair scalp. The louse's mouth is like a very small needle. It uses this to drink the blood from the head. Head lice only live on people and cannot be caught from animals.

Head lice don't much care if the hair is clean, dirty, long or short.

Nits are not the same thing as head lice. These are the eggs cases laid by the head lice which then stick to the hair. These 'nits' are tiny and are pearly white. Having nits does not mean that you still have head lice after treatment. The egg cases will eventually grow out as the hair gets longer. You only have head lice if you find a living, moving insect on your scalp.

Anybody can get head lice ~ it is a community problem and not just in schools.

Lice move from one head to another, but only if the heads come together for a minute or so. The lice walk from head to head along a hair shaft. Lice can't swim, fly or jump. It looks like they are jumping when they are flicked of a comb by static electricity when combing dry hair.

Head lice don't always cause an itchy scalp so many people will be unaware that they are infected. Sufferers only develop an itchy scalp if they become sensitive to the louse saliva, and this can take up to two months.

Within most schools at any one time, there will be a small number of children infected with head lice. Infection levels remain fairly constant, but if you could inspect your child's hair at least once a week throughout the school year, we would be very grateful.

If you suspect your child has head lice, please report any incidences to the school. Detection and effective treatment of any head lice outbreaks is the key to reducing the problem.

Treatment

   Wash the hair well and towel dry.
   Comb the hair with an ordinary comb to remove the tangles.
   Add white conditioner to the hair, but do not wash out.  This can help the comb to go through the hair more easily.
   Using a plastic detection comb start with the teeth of the comb touching the skin of the scalp at the top of the head. Comb slowly towards the end of the hair keeping the teeth of the comb in good light.  Wiping the comb on a tissue will help to see if any lice have been removed.
   Repeat the process 10~15 times, covering the scalp and hair in all directions.