School District 74 says beware of head lice

Learn how to spot the culprits and get rid of them before they cause mayhem.

It’s the time of year when head lice can become a problem, particularly with school children. School District 74 Superintendent of Education, Teresa Downs, notes that at present there is no noticeable activity in the district, but here are a few notes which may be of help to concerned parents.

What are head lice?

Head lice are tiny, wingless parasites that live on human hair and depend on human blood for survival. They are particularly common in children due to close play and interactions.

How are head lice transmitted?

Head lice are generally transmitted through head to head contact and from sharing personal items such as hats, combs, brushes, helmets, etc.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can include intense itching of scalp, tickling sensation from movement of hair, small red welts from bites on the scalp, nits (eggs) on hair shaft close to scalp that are not easily removed and sightings of live lice on the hair.

How to check for head lice?

It is important to check where there is good lighting and use magnification if necessary. Separate and part the hair to expose the hair shaft close to the scalp. Check the entire head, paying close attention to the areas behind the ears, back of head along the neckline, and the crown of the head. You are looking for signs of lice: Nits (eggs) on the hair shaft close to scalp, small red marks on scalp and/or back of neck and sightings of live lice.

How to get rid of head lice?

There are several different methods to treat head lice. Whether you choose a chemical or non chemical treatment it is important to manually remove all the nits (eggs). The wet comb method is one of the more popular.

Wet comb method:

Conditioner cream is applied to the hair and scalp. This will help immobilize the live lice and allow the hair to be combed out gently. The hair is separated into four working sections. Using a magnification visor and a profession lice/nit comb, the hair is combed out. Combing starts from the scalp to the end of the hair shaft. The nits attach to all sides of the hair shaft so the front, back, and sides of the shaft need to be combed. Treatment should be repeated in about seven days. If the infestation is severe, it should be treated every three to five days until all lice and nits are removed. Remember that removal of nits is the key to success.

School District 74 (Gold Trail) is committed to working with caregivers and Interior Health to help control head lice. The district recognizes that the identification, control and treatment of head lice are a joint responsibility of the caregiver, the school and Interior Health.

The school principal, in cooperation with the public health nurse, will ensure that the Recommended Head Lice Management policies at Interior Health are implemented and carried out in a manner that ensures the respect and dignity of the student and family.