Head Lice Facts and Information
Head lice are tiny parasitic insects that live on the human scalp and feed on human blood. The adult female louse is about the size of a sesame seed, brown/tan in color, and typically lives for 20 to 30 days. She lays up to 6 pearly-gray oval shaped eggs a night, called nits, that hatch in 7-10 days. Nits are found throughout the hair, usually close to the scalp in temperate climates (egg production occurs at optimum temperature 84 deg.), and are most often located at the back of the scalp, behind the ears, and at the top of the head. They adhere firmly to the hair shaft and cannot be easily moved up or down the hair. The primary mode of transmission is head to head contact. Lice are crawling insects that cannot hop, jump, or fly. They do not generally survive for more than 12-48 hours off the human host. Pets do not get head lice.
Most outbreaks of lice occur at home. Often nurses see an isolated "case" at school indicating that head lice are still prevalent in the community. When multiple children are diagnosed there is often a community activity such as a "sleepover" where the contact occurred.
Most head lice are effectively treated with pediculicides such as over-the-counter pyrethrin -RID, R&C; or permethrin-NIX, which are safe but can sometimes cause scalp irritation. Lice can also be mechanically removed. Heavy oil based products to suffocate lice are ineffective. The prescription pesticides, lindane-Kwell or malathion -Ovide, can be used for repeated, resistant infestations (contact primary care provider). Nits must be mechanically removed using a lice/nit comb or by hand. There are anecdotal reports that olive oil or vinegar will loosen nits, but there is no data to support this.
Physical Indications of Head Lice
- Persistent scratching of the head and back of the neck.
- Red bite marks and scratch marks on scalp and neck.
- Presence of nits on hair.
- Presence of lice on scalp and hair.
- Secondary bacterial infection can occur, causing oozing or crusting. Swollen glands may also develop.
- Nurses will educate students on an ongoing basis to avoid sharing hats, hair ornaments, hairbrushes, etc.
- Nurses will check a child for head lice if the nurse or teacher notices the child has increased itching/scratching of the scalp, or at the request of a parent.
- For suspected cases, nurses will notify parents by sending an informational letter home with the student
- The nurse will assist parents in a supportive manner to understand lice treatment.
- The child with head lice may return to school after treatment (continued nit removal will decrease nit hatching and reduce the need for additional treatment).
- The nurse will screen the student upon return to school. The nurse will check the student on day 7 and day 14.
- Siblings of diagnosed students will be examined for lice, and nurses of siblings in other schools will be alerted of the situation.
- When three or more students in a class with no related source (ie. a sleepover) are diagnosed with head lice, the nurse will send a letter to the parents of all students in the class.
- Classroom practices will be reviewed if there are several cases of head lice in one classroom that do not have a common community source.
Head Lice Prevention Tips
- Watch for children scratching heads constantly, particularly after holiday or vacation periods
- Advise children not to share hats, hair ornaments, scarves, barrettes, scrunchies or combs/brushes.
- As winter approaches keep coats, hats and scarves as separate as possible in school
- Encourage children to store hats and scarves in coat sleeves
- Refer unusually itchy children to the school nurse
References and More Information:
- http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/headlice.html - Head Lice Information, statement from Richard J. Pollack, PhD, 2000
- HEAD LICE: The Myth, The Facts, The Update, Jack Dillenberg, MPH, Area Health Officer, LA County Dept. of Health Services, 1999 (a program funded by MEDICIS, The Dermatology Co.)
- http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/lice/factsht_head_lice.htm Head Lice Fact Sheet
- www.headlice.org; NPA (National Pediculosis Assoc.)- 781-449-NITS, Fax 781-449-8129;
- http://www.mesd.k12.or.us, School Health service, Head Lice Resource Team 503-988-6157
FY18 Community Preservation Act Affordable Housing Funding Applications Now Available: Deadline May 23, 2018
Residents, organizations, and businesses are invited to submit applications for the funding of eligible affordable housing programs or projects via its annual distribution of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds.
Plan establishes the annual funding allocations for Community Preservation Act funds; Workshop offers tips on how to apply for funding
The Somerville Community Preservation Committee invites all interested community members to hear about the FY 2018 Community Preservation Act (CPA) historic resources and open space/recreational land project proposals before the Community Preservation Committee, and offer feedback on which dese
Somerville Community Preservation Committee Celebrates 5th Anniversary of Community Preservation Act
Residents invited to join the Committee for a walking tour and community celebration on September 9.
The Community Preservation Committee is made up of Somerville residents who set the priorities for approximately $2 million in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds each year and recommend which projects should be funded to the Board of Aldermen.
Application materials for this year’s Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds as well as the FY18 Community Preservation Plan, which sets the funding allocations and priorities for the year, are now available.
Learn more at www.somervillema.gov/CPA
This summer, the City’s Community Preservation Act (CPA) program is being evaluated to help us learn what its strengths are, how we can improve, and how well known the program is.
Do you have a passion for affordable housing, historic preservation, and parks and open space?
Join Mayor Joseph Curtatone, the Somerville Community Preservation Committee (CPC), and the Friends of the Community Path to celebrate the reopening of the Grove-to- Cedar section of the Community Path following repaving work that occurred this month.