November 20, 2012
As your child’s school nurse, I want to make you aware of a medical problem that impacts school around the country, usually this time of year when student are back to school.
Pediculosis, or head lice, is a condition that each year affects approximately six to 12 million children between the ages of three and 12 years of age, and about one in every 100 elementary school children. Head lice are parasites that are generally found on the scalp, around the ears, and the back of the neck. The adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, and can be reddish brown in color. Eggs, or nits, are smaller and silver in color.
Head lice are not a sign of poor hygiene and they do not transmit disease. Transmission from one child to another can occur during direct head to head contact or sharing of personal items such as combs, brushes, caps or helmets.
The most common symptom of head lice is head scratching, particularly at night, although red bite marks may also be noticed. If you suspect that your child has head lice, he or she should be examined or consulted by your health care provider for treatment options. There are many safe and effective products available, both over the counter and prescription, to treat the problem. It is important to follow the directions carefully. Parents should also wash in hot water or dry-clean all recently worn clothing, hats, used bedding and towel. Personal care items such as combs, brushes and hair clips should be washed in hot water.
My goal as school nurse is to provide you with the information you need to safeguard your child’s health, and ensure that his or her education is not disrupted, but remains the most positive experience possible. Below you will also find a link to information regarding the myths vs. facts of head lice and transmission. Please refer to it for some very valuable information.
We must keep the problem of head lice in perspective, as it is not a serious health problem, rather an annoying and unpleasant condition. Head lice are a problem nationwide, so we are not alone. Overreacting will not help. Parents and schools, working together, in an intelligent, open manner, always is a more effective approach. Thank you for your cooperation with this situation.
If you have any questions, you may contact me or call the principal, Mr. Dan Dowden at 484.3333 ext 227.