Head Lice

WPSD#1 follows The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the National Association of School Nurses (NASN), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the North Dakota Department of Health guidelines regarding Head Lice. 

Students diagnosed with live head lice will not be dismissed early from the school day. Either a letter or phone call is placed to inform the parent, along with educational material how to treat the child. The child may return to school after appropriate treatment has begun. Nits may persist after treatment, but successful treatment should kill crawling lice. Headlice can be a nuisance although it has not been shown to spread disease. Personal hygiene or cleanliness in the home or school does not play a factor in how an individual becomes infected. 

What are head lice?

Head lice are small insects (less than /8/ inch long, approximately the size of a sesame seed). They range in color from brown, black, yellow-tan or gray-white. Head lice feed on blood they draw from the scalp and lay tine, gray/white eggs (nits) on a hair shat near the scalp. The warmth from the scalp is needed for the eggs to hatch. Head lice are not known to spread disease. 

Who is at risk for head lice? 
Head lice infections occur in all socioeconomic groups, are not an indication of poor hygeine, and can affect anyone, but are most common in children attending child care or elementary school. Individuals who have head-to-head direct contact to someone with head lice is the greatest risk. Household members of infested children are also at risk. 

What are symptoms of head lice? 
Most individuals who have head lice do not have symptoms at all. When symptoms do occur, the most common signs include itching of the skin on the scalp or near the nape of the neck. 

What is the treatment? 
Over the counter treatments and prescriptions that kill lice and most viable eggs are available. For more information about the treatment of head lice visit. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/treatment.html.

What can be done to prevent the spread? 
Head lice are frustrating, a nuisance and very communicable. When every parent takes responsibility to check their child/children’s heads and screen the entire family, lice can be detected early and controlled. Children should not share coats, hats, scarves or brushes with other children.