We have regular head lice checks under our Parent Managed Head Lice Program. We do urge all families to check hair at least once a week.
If your child is found to have head lice at our inspection then a note will come home and action must be taken. Your child can only return to school once treatment has taken place. A form indicating that treatment has occurred must be returned to the school with the child.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD HAS HEAD LICE?
Many head lice infections cause no symptoms, probably less than half cause itch. So it is important for you to examine your child’s hair on a regular basis. If you follow these steps, once a week, the control of head lice in your home will be greatly improved.
Step 1 Comb inexpensive hair conditioner on to dry, brushed (detangled) hair. This makes it difficult for lice to grip the hair or run around;
Step 2 Wipe the conditioner from the comb onto a paper towel or tissue;
Step 3 Look on the tissue and on the comb for lice and eggs;
Step 4 If lice or eggs are found, the child should be treated. Treatment solution can be obtained from the chemist. It is important to remove all eggs from the hair and to retreat your child with the solution 7 days after the first treatment. This is also an ideal way to check your own hair as you can do it yourself.
I FOUND HEAD LICE! WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Firstly, DON’T PANIC. Most families get head lice at some stage of their children’s school life. It’s no big deal!
WHAT ABOUT THE BEDDING?
Much confusion surrounds the issue! Research at James Cook University concluded that carers should not go to great lengths to treat bedding or the environment, as lice cannot live off the scalp for more than 24 hrs. So drastic is the dehydration of a louse that after 12 hours away from the scalp it cannot resume feeding. Simply denying lice the food they require (human blood) is sufficient to kill lice. There is no need to use insecticide on furniture or carpet! Just wash pillowcases, hats and towels in the normal manner. If you are concerned about other bedding eg. doonas, blankets you can simply leave them out to air for 24 hrs. Brushes need only to be soaked in hot water. Lice cannot burrow into pillows or mattresses so no treatment is required for these items. In a trial conducted by Prof. Speare, involving vacuuming classrooms of lice infested students:- the dust was inspected under a microscope for lice or eggs and over 4,000 hats were checked. The results indicated that not a single louse or egg was found either in the hats or dust from the carpets. It was therefore concluded that lice are spread by direct hair to hair contact only and it is not considered to treat the environment for head lice, time is much better spent on the head of the infected person.
HEAD LICE FACTS
Head lice cannot jump, hop or fly. Lice cannot live on pets. There is a male and female louse and they can live on a host for approx. 30 days. The female louse can lay up to 100 eggs (nits) in this time. Eggs vary in colour and are laid close to the scalp. Lice only go to the scalp to feed or to lay eggs. Eggs further away from the scalp more than 1 – 2 cm are usually empty cases which remain attached to the hair even though they are dead. These appear white in colour. Live eggs hatch in 7 to 10 days and the female is able to reproduce in 10 to 12 days.