Five words no parent wants to hear – “Your Child Has Head Lice”

As soon as someone starts talking about Head lice you can’t help but start scratching!  They’re every parent’s nightmare as they can be really unpleasant for our children and not easy to get rid of.  But we do all have to be vigilant and treat Head lice on our children as soon as we’re aware of them.

 

So What Are They?  Head lice are insects that live in hair and suck blood from the scalp. They are a nuisance because they can cause itching of the scalp, but they do not cause disease or illness. Female head lice lay their eggs and glue them to the base of hair shafts. The eggs are pale cream to yellowish brown in colour and hatch after 7–10 days. The immature lice grow into adults over 6–10 days and start biting the scalp to feed on blood. Adult lice mate, the females lay more eggs, and the cycle begins again. How does it spread?

 

The Truth In How They Spread –  Head lice can only be spread from one person to another by direct head-to-head contact—the lice cannot jump or fly. Head lice do not live or breed on animals, bedding, furniture, carpets, clothes or soft toys. They cannot spread by sharing hats. Incubation period Head lice eggs take 7–10 days to hatch, and adult lice can lay new eggs after another 6–10 days. The lice in a person’s hair can be at various stages of their life cycle, so new eggs can be laid and new lice can hatch continuously. Gross right!

 

Exclusion Period – Children do not have to be sent home immediately but do need to be treated as soon as they get home.  They can then return to child care as soon as ‘effective treatment’ has started.

 

What Is An Effective Treatment – An effective treatment is when a treatment is used and all the lice are dead. The conditioner and combing technique is an effective and affordable head lice treatment. You’ll find info below on how to successfully use this treatment.  Chemical treatments are also available for head lice—your pharmacist can help you choose a product.

 

Our Responsibility  If Your Child Has Headlice – If one child in a class has head lice, it is likely that several others also have them. We will not isolate your child if we notice they have Head lice.  It doesn’t make sense and can be humiliating for the child. But we will reduce head-to-head contact between the children. As soon as we’re aware a child has Head lice we will inform all our families so you can check your child at home and treat them if you find they also have them. We’re here to support parents and children who have Head lice by providing factual information, reducing parental anxiety and not singling out individual children with Head lice.

 

Responsibility Of Parents – Please check your child’s head once a week for head lice. If you find any lice or eggs, begin treatment immediately. Check for effectiveness of the treatment every 2 days until no lice are found for 10 consecutive days. You may send your child back to child care as soon as effective treatment has started. Check all family members for Head lice and treat if they’re found.

 

Some Things That Help

  1. Tie long hair back to reduce the chances of contracting and spreading.
  2. Adult head lice are difficult to see. Look for eggs by shining a strong light on the hair near the scalp.
  3. Try the conditioner trick – 1. Untangle dry hair with an ordinary comb. 2. Apply hair conditioner to dry hair (white conditioner makes it easier to see the eggs). Use enough conditioner to cover the whole scalp and all the hair from roots to tips. 3. Use an ordinary comb to evenly distribute the conditioner and divide the hair into four or more sections using hair clips. 4. Starting with a section at the back of the head, place the teeth of a head lice comb flat against the scalp. Comb the hair from the roots through to the tips. 5. Wipe the comb clean on a tissue after each stroke and check for head lice or eggs on the tissue. 6. Comb each section twice until you have combed the whole head. If the comb becomes clogged, use an old toothbrush, dental floss or a safety pin to remove the head lice or eggs.
    Keep combing the whole head until all the conditioner is gone. Repeat the process daily until no lice or eggs have been found for 10 days.

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