Head Lice Information for Parents and Guardians
What are head lice?
The head louse, or Pediculus humanus capitis, is a parasitic insect that can be found on the head, eyebrows, and eyelashes of people. Head lice feed on human blood several time a day and live close to the human scalp. Head lice are not known to spread disease.
Who is at risk for getting head lice?
Head lice are found worldwide. In the United States, infestation with head lice is most common among preschool children attending child care, elementary schoolchildren, and the household members of infested children. Although reliable data on how many people in the United States get head lice each year are not available, an estimated 6 million to 12 million infestations occur each year in the United States among children 3 to 11 years of age. [data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]
Head-to-head contact with an already infested person is the most common way to get head lice. Head-to-head contact is common during play at school, at home, and elsewhere (sports activities, playground, slumber parties, camp).
Signs and Symptoms of Infestation
• Tickling feeling of something moving in the hair.
• Itching, caused by an allergic reaction to the bites of the head louse.
• Irritability and difficulty sleeping; head lice are most active in the dark.
• Sores on the head caused by scratching. These sores can sometimes become infected with bacteria found on the person's skin.
What should I do if I suspect my child has head lice?
It is best to consult with your pediatrician or health care provider. You may also contact Nurse Lee. If your child has head lice, please contact your School Secretary immediately. All reports are treated confidentially and an anonymous exposure notice will be sent to families in the same classroom so that they can pay attention to possible signs/symptoms and get treated if needed.