Healthy Habits– Head Lice

  • Over the winter months, hats and scarves come out and cases of lice are reported more frequently during this time. Sleepover and shared clothing like coats, hats and scarves can contribute to this. Head to head contact is the most common way to pass lice from one another, but shared belonginglice s pass them too.

    What to do:

    • Encourage your child to store their hat, coat or scarf in their backpack.
    • Remind your child not to share clothing, brushes, hair ribbons or other items.
    • Check your child’s head, especially if they are itching or ask if the health clerk or district nurse can help you check your child.

    Lesser-known facts:

    • The most common cause of repeat cases of lice is untreated viable nits.
    • Viable nits left in the hair can lay dormant and hatch when they are warm enough.
    • Lice do not jump or fly and have claws to move through hair-like surfaces by climbing.
    • A human temperature is required to hatch nits, and they only digest human blood, so they do not live on household pets.
    • Alternative treatments do not typically have any research studies showing efficacy and some may be hazardous to your child’s health – research methods listed by the CDC or California Department of Health to best treat your child.

    What has the district done to help? We have adopted a notification to parents if more than one case of lice are reported in the classroom but we will need your help. Please report any cases of live lice to our health office staff so that we can track cases in the classroom. Classrooms may be checked if more than one case of live lice are found. Our health clerks coordinate these efforts and will be assisted by the district nurse. Children excluded for live lice must be treated to return to school and they will be screened during the day they return. Children with viable nits will be rescreened at the health office until nit free to ensure that they remain free of live lice. Janitorial services are notified of classroom cases so they may perform vacuuming and treatment of these classrooms.

    Buckeye Union School District adopted the recommendations from the California Department of Health Services (DHS) for a “no live lice policy”. If your child has live lice, our policy states that all students must be treated prior to attending school. Recommendations include:

    • Use products containing permethrin (i.e. Nix®* or RID), this is a natural oil derived from chrysanthemums. These medications DO NOT kill nits!!! Removal of viable nits is a must as lice will return without the removal of the viable nits but children may attend school with nits.
    • Your physician can prescribe NATROBA (spinosad). An organically based soil bacterium that is not caustic and kills both lice and nits and requires no combing or follow-up treatment.
    • Treatment at home includes vacuuming all surfaces, washing all bedding and high heat treatment (dryer for 20 minutes) for items such as soft toys that are not easily washed.

    Additional information about lice can be found at the CDC website at:

    http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/gen_info/faqs.html 

    A pamphlet parents have reported as being helpful can be found here:

    http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Documents/2012HeadLiceEng.pdf