Important Head Lice Information
Published on Oct 14, 2016 08:50

Millis Public Schools

School Health Services

Head lice information


There are a several cases of head lice at Clyde Brown School and Millis Middle school that we are aware of.  Head lice cases in general are on the rise - an estimated 6-12 million infestations occur each year in the US, most commonly among children ages 3-11. 

Anyone can get head lice.  It is usually transferred through direct head-to-head contact, but it can also be transmitted from sharing hats, brushes and other personal hair items.  Head lice is more prevalent than you may think.  The presence of head lice does not reflect poor hygiene.

Please join us in being proactive and check your children weekly for any signs of head lice.  (Look at their hair and scalp for evidence of live lice, lice eggs or nits (egg casings left behind after live lice have hatched).  Please contact your pediatrician if you suspect head lice.  A lice infestation is much easier to treat if caught early.

What are head lice?

Head lice are tiny, wingless insects that live close to the human scalp.   They feed on blood.   The eggs, also called nits, are tiny, tear-drop shaped eggs that attach to the hair shaft.  As the hair grows, the eggs/nits are naturally moved away from the scalp.  Eggs more than ¼ inch from the scalp are nearly always hatched.  Nits often appear yellowish or white and can look like dandruff but cannot be removed easily or brushed off.  The nymph, or baby lous, is smaller and will grow to adult size in 1-2 weeks.  Lice hatch in 8-10 days.  A lous can only survive 24 hours without human blood. The adult lous is the size of a sesame seed and appears tan to grayish white.  An itchy and inflamed scalp is a common symptom of lice.  Remember, head lice do not carry any disease. 

Who is affected by head lice?

Head lice are not related to cleanliness. In fact, head lice often infest people with good hygiene habits.  Infestations can occur at home, school or in the community.  Head lice are most often spread by direct head-to-head contact (playtime, sleep overs, sports or camp).

What to do if you suspect head lice?

If you think your child has head lice please contact your pediatrician.  You and your pediatrician will discuss the best treatment options for your family.

We hope you find this information helpful. With head lice – the best treatment is prevention!  Please check your child’s head on a routine basis.

Thank you,

Diane Danehy, BSN, MPH, RN

Lynn Molinari, BSN, MSN, RN

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