Cliftonville Primary & Pre-School
Procedures for Head Lice: updated January 2020
Head lice are a wider societal problem and contrary to popular belief research shows that transmission of lice within the classroom is relatively rare. When it does occur, it is usually from a “best friend”. We know that you can only get head lice through direct head-to-head contact with a person that has them. Head lice can’t jump, hop or swim. There is no evidence that head lice have a preference for either clean or dirty hair. It’s extremely rare to get head lice by sharing hats, combs or pillows. You also don’t need to wash clothing or bedding, because head lice that fall off your head (for example, onto hats or pillows) are likely to die soon after.
Studies of school children indicate that approximately 4% of the population at any one time has head lice. Outbreaks are very rare it is usually a perception of an outbreak rather than a reality.
The life span of a head louse is short. The adult will lay 5-6 eggs a day glued to the base of a hair near the scalp. The egg will take 7-10 days to hatch. The empty white egg case is often called a ‘nit’. It takes a further 6-14 days for the louse to mature and begin to reproduce. The whole cycle takes between 2 -3 weeks.
Finding a living, moving louse on a head is the only sure way to diagnose the presence of head lice. There are different ways of treating an infection including, many lotions and the wet combing method. But in order to be effective the treatment needs to be correctly applied and repeated as directed.
What the research says is not effective:
What the school will do if we see a live, moving louse in your child’s hair:
The following website is a very good source of support and information in order to help you deal with head lice effectively.
How can the Parent Support Workers help me?
If your child is repeatedly suffering from head lice then, with your agreement, the Parent Support Workers will contact the school nursing service to seek their advice. They can also help you to access information websites and provide you with tips on how to best deal with head lice if nothing seems to be working.
Head lice have been on the planet as long as humans and they will not be eradicated in the foreseeable future, but a sensible, informed approach, based on fact not mythology, will help to limit the problem. There is no good way of preventing head lice. The best way to prevent them spreading is to check your whole family’s heads for lice regularly. You can do this by detection combing on a weekly basis, or as often as you want. This will help you find any lice before they have a chance to breed and lay nits. You can then treat them quickly to prevent them from spreading to other people.