Head Lice

Head Lice

Please see below for some important and helpful information from the Holmes PTO. We urge you to read all the way through!

**Note: This includes information and tips compiled by local parents with the intention of being helpful for our school community. The PTO does not endorse any particular product or treatment method and this is not an official Holmes School administration communication.**

It’s that time of year again – head lice season! Yes, it can be a problem at any time of the year but it feels especially prevalent right now so let’s all brush up on the facts and get vigilant about checking our kids regularly to try and stop the spread in our school.

Head lice are an unfortunate reality, especially among kids, so it’s important for everyone to know what they are, how to spot them, and how to treat them.

Please remember that no one is immune to head lice. Head lice don’t jump and they don’t live on pets. The most common way head lice spreads is by head-to-head contact. They are NOT a sign of poor hygiene – head lice don’t care if someone is clean or dirty. Let’s all be mindful of that, especially when speaking to our children about head lice. No one should ever be made to feel embarrassed or ashamed for catching head lice.

The best way to stop the spread of head lice is to identify and treat them right away so PLEASE CHECK YOUR CHILD EVERY DAY.  Also, if you find head lice on your child, we encourage you to tell the parents of other children in your class(es) as well as anyone your family has had recent close-contact activities, carpools and playdates so they are aware of the exposure and know to do extra thorough checks. We know this can be uncomfortable but the more we talk openly and keep each other in the loop, the more likely it is that we can slow or stop the spread.

Even though they’re tiny, you can see head lice. Here’s what to look for:

Look for lice and nits (lice eggs) on the scalp, behind the ears, and around the nape of the neck. Nits look like tiny yellow, tan or brown dots before they hatch. Lice lay nits on hair shafts close to the scalp, where the temperature is perfect for keeping warm until they hatch. Nits look a bit like dandruff, but aren’t removed by brushing or shaking them off. To tell them apart, pull on the little speck with your fingers — dandruff and dirt can be removed, but nits stay stuck. A magnifying glass and a bright light can help with your inspection.

It can be tough to spot adult lice or nymphs (baby lice) since they move fast. Adult lice are no bigger than a sesame seed and are grayish-white or tan.

The best way to check is by using a fine-toothed lice comb on wet hair. After applying lots of conditioner, comb the hair out in very small sections, and look for lice or nits on the comb. You can wipe the comb onto a tissue or paper towel where it will be easier to see them. *Doing this regularly will help to spot lice early*

If your child is itchy and scratching their head but you’re not sure if it’s lice, ask your child’s doctor.

In addition to daily checking, here are some preventative steps that you can take:

Keep hair pulled back tightly to help prevent spreading of lice.

Spray with lice repellant every day. There are various types available, ones that have been recommended to us by some parents are Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel and LiceLogic Repel Spray.

Ok, so you just checked your child’s head and spotted lice – now what?

Treatment Options:

There are over the counter treatment options available in pharmacies or online. Some common brands are NIX or Rid. We spoke with a local pediatrician who recommends this but stressed that physical removal of the lice and nits is the most important part which is done with the fine toothed comb that is included in the kits. A second application may be necessary to kill the nymphs once they hatch. Be sure to read and follow the included instructions carefully.

Another option is to use a local Lice Treatment Center that will provide treatment in your home. This is a more natural option since they do not use insecticide; however, it is significantly more expensive than the OTC treatments. Pricing varies depending on how many people are being treated as well as hair length. Some parents have reported that with this type of treatment, repeated combing and treatment for several days is required since the more natural treatment will not kill the nits. We recommend speaking directly with the center for specific details.

We hope this information is helpful and we encourage everyone to do thorough lice checks daily!

If you have any additional questions about head lice we encourage you to speak with your child’s pediatrician.