Let’s Talk About Lice!

We all know that kids of every age can get head lice, and that simply reading the words will make your head itchy, but it’s always good to review the basics about the little critters in case they happen to make their way onto your child’s head.

How to lessen the likelihood of lice

  • If your child has long hair, consider keeping it in braids or tied back to limit hair “intermingling” with other hair.

  • Studies have found that sleepovers are a prime opportunity for lice infestation, so if you are super worried about your child getting lice, limit overnight visits.

  • Teach your child not to put their heads close to others’ heads. Lice sense the warmth of other heads and will only let go of a hair if they know they have another warm head in the near vicinity!

  • Periodically check your child’s head with a quality lice comb (see my recommendation below). Run the comb through your child’s hair and wipe it off on a damp paper towel. Remember that nits are brown; dandruff and dry skin are white.

What to do if your child gets lice

Step one: Don’t panic! Yes, it’s a major annoyance, but there are no health risks that come with lice, and the situation is perfectly treatable.

Step two: Use a recommended over-the-counter lice-killing product, like “Nix,” or “RID” according to package directions. These treatments usually kill adult lice with one treatment.

Step three: Use a nit comb to remove nits from hair. Nits do not come off the hair after using a lice treatment, and if not removed they may hatch 7 to 10 days later to start a new infestation. I highly recommend the Nit FreeTerminator Lice Comb, which is a stainless steel comb available at amazon.com for about ten dollars (order it now, so you have it if you need it). Plastic combs do not work very well. Depending on the length and thickness of your child’s hair, be prepared to spend several hours combing out nits, but it will be well worth the effort!

Step four: Wash all bedding, hats, and scarves in hot water. Vacuum your floors and furniture, but remember that lice are transmitted from head to head, and rarely “fall off” into the environment. The handy hook claws they have ensure they stay on hair, so don’t feel your house must be deep cleaned to get rid of them.

School Policy

By the time lice are easily visible in a child’s hair, the child is likely to have had lice for several weeks. If a student comes to the health office with live lice in their hair, I call the parents and let them decide whether or not to pick up the student right away. The Minnesota Department of Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics both state that there is no reason a child has to miss school because they have lice. Lice are usually spread at sleepovers or places where there is head-to-head contact. If a class has several cases of head lice, I will send a letter home to all parents to check their child’s hair.

For more information, please visit these helpful websites, or contact me using the information below.

Minnesota Department of Health

The Minnesota Lice Lady

Simply Nitty (A lice removal service)

American Academy of Pediatrics

Let’s all work together for a happy, lice‑free school!