Occasionally we have reports that one or two of our children have head lice and although they are not dangerous and do not spread disease, they cause anxiety and distress amongst parents. Head lice are not uncommon, they are a wide societal problem and contrary to popular belief, research shows that the transmission of lice within the classroom is relatively rare. We know that you can only get head lice from direct head-to-head contact with a person who has them. Head lice cannot jump, hop or swim and there is no evidence that head lice have a preference for either clean or dirty hair. It is extremely rare to get head lice by sharing hats, combs or pillows.
However clearly we would like to control any incidents of head lice infestation so that they do not spread throughout the school. Please help us to do this by checking your child’s hair regularly and reporting any incidents directly to us when they will be treated in the strictest confidence. Where there has been a head lice outbreak we will inform the affected classes by letter.
By following the steps below in Detection Combing, parents will be able to quickly identify problems if there arise and prevent head lice infestation. Detection combs are widely available in pharmacies and some supermarkets.
- You will need:
- a plastic detection comb;
- good lighting;
- an ordinary comb.
- Wash hair well, then dry it with a towel. The hair should be damp, not dripping.
- Make sure there is good light. Daylight is best
- Comb hair with an ordinary comb.
- Start with the teeth of the detection comb touching the skin of the scalp at the top of the head.
- Draw the detection comb carefully towards the edge of the hair keeping the teeth of the come in contact with the scalp for as long as possible.
- Look carefully at the teeth of the comb in good light
- Repeat this several times from the top of the head to the edge of the hair in all directions, working around the head and looking at the detection comb after each action.
- Do this for several minutes. It takes 10 to 15 minutes to do it properly for each head.
- If there are head lice, you will find one or more lice on the teeth of the detection comb.
- If you find something, but not sure what it is, stick it to a piece of paper with clear sticky tape and show it to your school nurse or family doctor. There can be other things in the hair which are not lice.
- Clean the detection comb carefully under a running tap. A nail brush helps to do this.
There is also an information leaflet about head lice attached below if you require further information.