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Head Lice

Head lice are transmitted by close contact with a person with head lice or by wearing that person’s clothing or using their bedding.  These lice could have come from almost anywhere:  a classmate, an upholstered seat in a movie theater, or another child’s hat or comb.  It is often difficult to determine where the lice came from or if your child may have passed it on to someone else.  Please do the courtesy of notifying the parents of your child’s friend’s who may have been in close contact. 

Lice outbreaks are common among school children and even the cleanest child can easily become infested.  It’s important that you act IMMEDIATELY to prevent their spread to other members of your family. Listed below are instructions to help you be lice free again!  Following all these instructions thoroughly now is much easier than taking shortcuts and having to repeat the steps later if the lice come back.  The most important step to prevent lice from returning is to comb the hair with a lice comb to remove the lice and eggs which are attached to the hair shaft near the scalp. 

Your child may return to school after being treated and they are lice free.  I will check your child’s hair upon their return to school.  If it is possible, I prefer you bring your child to Hayward Elementary before 8 a.m. so I may check your child and okay their return to class before school starts for the day. 

TREATMENT OF HEAD LICE                        
                                      
Everyone in the family must be treated!  

Shampoo and Remove Nits
Following the directions on the product label, shampoo with a lice killing treatment.  There are several brands available that may use different chemicals.  I personally prefer treatments that are pesticide free.  Thoroughly examine the hair for nits that look like small cocoons on the hair shaft.  They may look like dandruff but do not flake off, and are stuck to the hair shaft near the scalp.  Use a special fine tooth comb called a nit comb, to remove the nits, or you may pull each nit down the length of the hair with your fingernails.  Sterilize the comb after you are finished by soaking it in a solution of bleach and water for at least 10 minutes.  You must continue to comb and check hair daily for at least 10 days to be certain no nits are left behind to hatch.  It would be wise to repeat the shampoo treatment in 7 days.

Clothing and Bedding
All clothing and bedding should be washed in hot water and dried in a hot dryer for at least 20 minutes the same day you treat everyone’s hair.  Make sure you don’t forget coats and hats!  Items that can’t be washed should be placed in plastic garbage bags and sealed for one month.  (After that time, all nits will have hatched and new lice will have died with out human contact.)

Furniture, Carpets, Etc.
The same day you do the above, also vacuum the furniture, mattresses and carpets.  There is also environmental spray you can buy.  This is an additional step and should not be used in place of vacuuming.  Once you have vacuumed, the vacuum cleaner bag or contents of the vacuum collector, should be sealed and thrown away in the trash.

Prevention:
Follow the above directions carefully.  Do not wear other people’s clothing.  Cutting hair short can help with prevention, identification and treatment.  It is hard to avoid people infected with head lice, but do what you can, while at the same time taking care not to overreact.  Most of all, by checking your child’s hair routinely you will more likely find any problems early on, when it is the easiest to treat.  I have been told by some sources that using a daily shampoo containing "Tea Tree Oil" can act as a prevention of sorts. Please call if you have any questions!  If there are any further problems or if these instructions are not successful, please contact your physician.