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Nurses Note 01.19.23

Health and Wellness

Head lice are small parasitic insects that live by biting the host which can cause an itchy scalp. Lice are gray, brown or black and can be difficult to see.  They do not leave the human host on their own; they must be physically dislodged.  

 

The Issaquah School District is committed to following current evidence-based practices recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control. This means some strategies used in the past are outdated and will not be used anymore. These strategies include:

 

 

  • Routine or periodic classroom and school-wide screenings for the presence of head lice-data shows this is a labor- intensive task, with little return.
  • Sending home classroom letters –this is a potential violation of patient confidentiality
  • Immediately sending home a student with head lice –this is denying a student access to their education. Head lice are not a health hazard and are not responsible for the spread of any disease.

Lice is spread from person to person when people are in close contact or when they share clothing or personal items that have been in contact with the head or neck. Lice do not fly or jump: they crawl. Lice can infest anyone–young, old, rich, poor, clean or dirty. Avoid sharing personal items such as hats, coats, brushes, combs and pillows.

Prevention

Children should be taught not to share combs, brushes & hats.  Regular head inspections by parents is an excellent way to detect any early infestations.

When inspecting your child for head lice, part the hair into sections. Make sure the room is well-lit. The nits stick to the hair shaft and must be pulled off with a fingernail to remove (or a lice comb can be used). That is one way to tell the difference between a nit and a dandruff flake. Dandruff can be easily flicked with your finger. Nits cannot be flicked or washed away. Although head lice are a nuisance, head lice do not spread disease.

If your child has head lice: 

  • Contact the school nurse if you know or suspect that your child has lice. The school nurse is a resource to answer your questions and provide information on how to remove and prevent head lice.
  • Examine all household members and treat anyone infested.
  • Notify the school nurse when the child has received treatment for head lice.
  • Inform family and friends so they can check their children.
  • Disinfect clothing and bedding by machine washing and drying using the hot cycle.
  • Soak brushes, combs and hair clips in hot water above 120 degrees for 10 minutes.
  • Vacuum all rugs, carpet, furniture, car, car seats and stroller. Discard the vacuum bag. If using a bagless vacuum, securely bag vacuum contents immediately after vacuuming and place in the trash.

The use of environmental sprays is NOT recommended due to their toxicity. Be sure to follow the instructions on any lice treatment shampoos, so your child & family are not over treated.

If you have any questions please contact Danielle Kolesnikov, School Nurse at KolesnikovD@issaquah.wednet.edu or 425-837-6421.

  • Health & Wellness