BRIELLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
605 Union Lane
Brielle, NJ 08730
October 27, 2016
A case of head lice was found in your child’s homeroom. It has been successfully treated. All of the children in the homeroom have been screened. The classroom is being cleaned. The carpet has been removed, stuffed animals are being “bagged” for ten days to suffocate the lice. The children are directed to put their sweatshirts, etc in their backpacks.
I am sending home this letter to offer a gentle reminder that it is important to be vigilant in the inspection of the children’s heads for the presence of head lice. We are entering the season of hats and scarves and, as always, children love to share and try on each other’s things; occasionally children will put on something thinking it is their own. Here is a list of precautions and tips, followed by the “what to do, if” recommendations:
v Place smocks in a zip-lock bag for storage and transport to school
v Keep personal belongings in the individual cubbies
v Do not share combs or brushes, caps, hats or headgear (helmets, headsets)
v Keep long hair in a hair band or ponytail, etc
v Inspect children’s scalps frequently
v Notify the school nurse if your child is suddenly scratching their head a lot
v Speak to the parents of your child’s friends if you suspect the children may have been in contact with head lice; communication is very important in the control of an infestation!
v Exercise a “prevention is the best-practice model” positive attitude
v Emphasize to your children that lice is NOT a germ or disease and we do not get sick from having lice
v We do not want the children to feel badly about lice, should they get it, because anyone can get it
What to do if you find lice or nits (eggs):
v Use a pediculocide such as Rid or Nix, or Cetaphil nonsoap facial cleanser. Follow the directions on the package of your chosen product
v Notify the teacher and school nurse
v Wash all coats, hoodies, etc. of the child in hot water
v Wash bedding, towels, mattress cover, etc. in hot water
v Vacuum mattress, carpets, upholstered furniture, car seat
v Throw out hair brush; wash combs in hot sudsy water
v Repeat the pediculocide in seven days per manufacturer
v Carpeted areas should be vacuumed as frequently as possible. Head lice are seeking new hosts, not hiding places.
Pesticide extermination services are Not recommended by the CDC or the National Pediculosis Assoc.
American Head Lice Information and Resource Center
CDC, Parasitic Disease Information www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/headlice/default.htm
Harvard School of Public Health www.hsph.harvard.edu/headlice.html
Please be reminded that we must continue to be proactive and take preventative measures in order to eliminate future incidents of head lice.
1. Do not allow children to share brushes or combs.
2. Do not share coats or hats. If you would like to provide a sack or plastic bag for your child's coat or smock, feel free to do so.
3. Have your child bring their own pillow to sleepovers and remind them not to share their pillow.
4. Check your child's scalp periodically throughout the year.
5. Please inform our school nurse immediately upon the onset and identification of head lice. This will deter an outbreak within the school setting.
THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE WAS TAKEN FROM A CANADIAN WEBSITE ON HEAD LICE. THE INFORMATION WAS VERY INTERESTING AND I WANTED TO SHARE IT WITH YOU.
Head Lice - The Facts: Tiny Ugly Creatures But Nothing To Be Afraid Of!
By Bonnie Kuehl, PhD
Despite the prevalence of lice in Canadian schools each year, at least a third of Canadian parents surveyed (36 per cent) do not feel very confident about identifying lice or nits in their child's hair. Furthermore, more than half of Canadian parents surveyed (56 per cent) reported they would feel distraught, scared it would spread, or embarrassed if their child had lice.
Fact: Lice are transmitted as easily as the common cold
- Head lice are transmitted mainly through close head to head contact.
- Children working or playing in small groups are all at risk for transmitting head lice:
- elementary schools
- day cares
- play groups
- Head lice may also be transmitted by sharing personal items such as:
- stuffed toys
- clothing (especially sweaters or fleeces with hoods)
- Parents, care-givers, and siblings may acquire head lice from younger children through sharing or pillows, beds, towels, and brushes or combs.
- It is important to get rid of lice as soon as possible so that other members of the family or close associates may avoid infestation.
- Head lice are not related in any way to cleanliness and anyone can become infested by them.
Fact: Head lice are annoying but not life-threatening
- Head lice are not known to transmit any diseases to people.
- The most common sign of head lice is persistent itching, especially around the ears. More damage may be done by scratching the scalp than from the lice themselves. A lice infestation can only be proven if live lice or nits (lice eggs) are found in the hair.
- To look for lice examine the head for lice or nits by parting the hair in narrow, vertical sections with a comb or toothpick. Look carefully behind the ears and in the nape of the neck.
Fact: Home remedies have not been clinically proven to work
- There are a number of lice products on the market. Pharmaceutical treatment shampoo or creme rinse products are the most proven method for getting rid of lice. Home remedies or frequent washing with regular shampoo are not effective in getting rid of head lice.
- Only treat people with live lice, not just people who have been exposed to lice.
- Product choices:
- R&CTM 2in 1 Shampoo+Conditioner (a single-step product)
- Kwellada-P® Creme Rinse
- NixTM Creme Rinse
- In most provinces these products are available directly from your pharmacist
Fact: Lice products are not used properly
- Follow the treatment instructions exactly. Some lice products are applied to dry hair and others to wet and/or washed hair.
- Leave the product on the hair for the exact length of time indicated in the instructions, no more and no less.
- Remove the nits. This is a time-consuming task but must be done.
- It can take up to 24 hours for lice to die following treatment.
- Apply a second application of the lice product 7-10 days after the first treatment to kill any newly hatched lice.
Fact: if you have a child between 4 and 10 be proactive, learn the facts, it will save time and frustration
- Head lice are common in schools; check your child's head monthly, especially if they are between the ages of 6 and 10.
- If you see live lice, treat immediately and inform the school and friends so that other children can be checked and treated. Re-infestation can occur from a schoolmate or an article of clothing or bedding.
About the author:
Bonnie Kuehl, PhD, Experimental Therapeutics/Cancer Biology, University of Toronto/Ontario Cancer Institute, and an Honours BSc in Biochemistry, University of Guelph. Post-doctoral Fellowships in the laboratories of Sir Professor David Lane, Scotland, U.K. and Dr. Silvia Bacchetti, McMaster University. Key areas of interest include biochemistry as well as cell and molecular biology.