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Head Lice 101head lice

There have been some cases of head lice at Elmira Elementary.  Here is some information regarding head lice and treatment:

Head lice are very common!  More than 12 million people, mostly children and school personnel, get head lice per year.

Direct head-to-head contact with an infested person is the main way head lice is transmitted, but they may also be transmitted by sharing hats, scarves, headphones, combs and other hair accessories.  Lice cannot hop, jump or fly but they can crawl rapidly.

Watch for signs of head lice: itchy head, presence of nits (small whitish/gray specks frequently located near the scalp.)  Check your children every few days if head lice are reported at their school.  Lice are easier to eliminate if caught early.

Teach your children not to share hats, head-gear, scarves, headphones and grooming items (comb, hairbrushes, etc.) and to avoid direct head-to-head contact.

  • To kill lice on bedding, clothes, etc., wash and dry them as you would ordinarily.  NEVER add any pesticide.  Vacuum materials that cannot be washed.
  • If you are concerned about head lice on carpets or furniture, vacuum them thoroughly or wipe smooth surfaces with a damp cloth.
  • Wash stuffed animals or vacuum them thoroughly.  NEVER spray them with a pesticide.
  • To kill lice on brushes or combs or hair accessories, wash them with hot soapy water.
  • Cooperate with your school’s head lice policy.  Your child will be temporarily excluded from the school as long as “nits” are present, but the policy helps avoid widespread head lice outbreaks.

10 tips for manual removal

1) Work in a well lighted area or use a flashlight and hand lens.

2) Use a grooming comb or hairbrush to remove tangles.  A hair detangler spray or other hair conditional may aid in this process.

3) Divide the hair into sections and fasten off the hair that is not being worked on.

4) Use a lice comb to detect and remove lice and nits.

5) Go through hair sections from the scalp to the end of the hair.  Nits are usually found close to the scalp.

6) Dip the comb in a cup of hot soapy water or use tape to remove lice, nits or debris from the comb.

7) Sift through the same section of hair and look for attached nits and live lice.

8) Move on to the next section until the entire scalp and all hair has been checked.

9) Screen the infested person every day for 10 days and regularly therafter.

10) If additional nits (at least 3-5) are discovered, another manul search is recommended.

You cannot completely control head lice with head lice shampoos alone.  You must combine shampoo treatment with manual removal.

 

 

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