The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

The "Nitty Gritty" Head Lice Guide

The following is helpful information in preventing and managing head lice:

  • The parent/guardian has the ultimate responsibility to ensure their child is free of live lice and viable (live) nits. The parent/guardian is responsible for the care of their child's scalp and hair.
  • The parent should carefully check their child's scalp and hair once each week. Many people think that itching is a good indicator of evidence of lice. However, the first infestation may produce NO sign or symptoms for 4-6 weeks!
  • Remember that children may get head lice if they are in sustained head to head contact. Sleepovers among friends and relatives are a common way they are passed from home to home.
  • Avoid indirect head-to-head contact. Although not a common source of transmission, avoid sharing articles such as hats, combs, brushes, and hair accessories.
  • Parents are asked to inform the school if their child has head lice. Lice infestations are handled in a confidential manner.


  • Consult with a nurse, pharmacist, or physician and purchase treatment. READ INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE STARTING TREATMENT.
  • Check the scalp and hair of all members (including adults) of the immediate and extended households. Pay special attention to the crown of the head, behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. Treat only those with active infections. Notify other homes where your child spends extended periods of time (day care, child care provider, etc.).
  • Consult your health care provider before treating young children and infants, if one is pregnant or nursing, if one has special health conditions.
  • Treat with a medicated shampoo that is available at your pharmacy. Home remedies such as vinegar, mayonnaise or olive oil have not been proven effective. Never use kerosene!
  • Do NOT use cream rinse or combination shampoo/conditioner before using lice medicine. do NOT re-wash hair for 1-2 days after treatment.
  • Remove eggs. This is the most important step to getting rid of lice. Use a bright light to examine the hair. Eggs must be removed daily by hand or fine-toothed "nit comb" or the eggs can hatch to cause reinfestation.
  • After treatment and nit removal, clean the house. Launder all bedding towels and clothing. Non washables can be placed in a hot dryer for 20 minutes or dry-cleaned. Other items can be placed in a tightly sealed plastic bag and placed in the freezer over night. Vacuum carpets, chairs or cushions including car seats and headrests.
  • Do NOT shave the head or cut the hair unless your child wants you to do so.
  • Do NOT use lice sprays. This can be harmful.
  • Do NOT use lice removal products to prevent lice.
  • In order for the child to return to school, the student must have been treated and show no evidence of live lice.
  • Upon return to school, the school nurse will inspect the hair and scalp. It is very beneficial if a parent or designated adult accompany the child.
  • If using over-the-counter treatments, retreat in 7-10 days. If using the prescription drug malathion, retreat in 7-10 days only if crawling bugs are found.

Questions may be addressed to your school nurse.


Anonymous said...

When does it become the schools problem? The school is aware of "ongoing" problems with some children but do nothing about it...including making parents aware of the situation. Instead they stay silent and cost parents hundreds of dollars in constant treatments because of one or two children with a so called "ongoing" problem. With todays economy are we going to forced to keep our children home in order to save the money we put out for treament once a week because the school won't do anything?

Anonymous said...

Because it's your kid...not the school's. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

I would think that it IS the schools responsibility to at least inform the parents that lice has been found in the classroom/school. If the same children are continually getting or spreading lice, especially 2 or more times in the same month - then the school does have some type of responsibilities. There are steps and procedures that need to be taken. BUT parents need to be aware of the situation!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree! I know of a child in my child's class that has pretty much had head lice ALL YEAR LONG! We have been going through the treatment cycle for about 3months straight! It is very frustrating when I am doing everything possible to keep bugs out of my family's head and the family that isn't is allowed to stay at school and keep spreading bugs! Not to mention how much money we have spent on treatment alone! That doesn't include laundry detergent and all the added extras!! I'm tired of it and something needs to happen FAST! It's life and I know that, but if the same kids are coming to school with it there has to be something that can be done.

Vanessa said...

I could be wrong on this but the reason why there's no notification regarding students with head lice is probably due to privacy laws. Could anyone confirm or refute this?

Myra Alexander, RN (Wawasee School Nurse) said...

Head lice is always a sensitive issue. The Wawasee school nurses are available to check your student for head lice upon parental request. If excessive live lice are found, the student is sent home for treatment. Instruction is given on the proper cleaning procedures needed to eliminate lice in the home. Please encourage your student not to share brushes, combs or hair accessories. Sleepovers are a common source of lice transmission. To avoid excessive absences, the student may return to school after treatment. It is important to continue to check your student at home for re-infestation.

Privacy of the student and family is important and of upmost concern to the nurses in this corporation. Lice issues are dealt with respect and support of the student and family involved.

Dr. Thomas said...

And head lice has nothing to do with how clean your house is or how dirty it may get. This is always a concern about head lice. You can have the cleanest home in the world and you still can get head lice in your home. Very true indeed.