Dear Parent or Guardian,
This letter is intended to provide you with information regarding head lice, a common problem among school-aged children. Anyone can get head lice. Lice do not transmit infections, they are not a sign of poor hygiene, and they do not pose a risk to a person’s health.
Lice can be easily transmitted from one person to another via direct contact or by sharing clothing. Each year in the U.S., approximately 6 to 12 million children between 3 and 12 years of age are infested with head lice. Common symptoms include:
Itching, sleeplessness, and irritability: Head lice causes itching, generally at the back of the head or behind the ears. There may be redness or sores that are present due to scratching.
Adult lice on Scalp: Adult head lice are most commonly found near the back of the neck or behind the ears. Lice are tiny and difficult to see. They can be up to 1/8 of an inch in size.
Visible nits: Nits are head lice eggs. They are tiny, white-colored, round, or oval shapes that are attached to the hair near the scalp. They cannot be removed by a normal hair brush.
While head lice infestations do not pose serious health risks, they are associated with a high level of anxiety among parents. Your help in inspecting your child throughout the school year for the presence of head lice would be greatly appreciated.
We suggest the following procedures for inspecting your child for head lice:
Under bright light, examine the back of your child’s head just above the neck area.
Part the hair section-by-section and look closely for head lice or nits (also known as eggs).
Depending on the length and thickness of your child’s hair, you should plan to spend between 5 and 15 minutes in order to properly inspect your child’s head.
Control of head lice depends on timely diagnosis and effective treatment. If you suspect your child is infested with head lice, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends consulting with your pediatrician or primary care provider for treatment options and guidance. Available treatment options include new U.S. Food and drug Administration (FDA) approved prescription products that are proven safe and effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following supplemental measures to avoid head lice reinfestation:
Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that the infested person wore or used during the two days before treatment using hot water (130° F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle.
Soak combs and brushes in hot water (at least 130° F) for 5-10 minutes.
Vacuum the floor and furniture, particularly in spots where the infected person sat or lay.
Please note that Hartford Public Schools maintains a lice free policy which means that any student with live lice is not allowed to attend school until he/she has received treatment. Following successful treatment, a student will be allowed to return to school upon re-inspection by the school nurse. Parents or guardians of students who are found to have nits will be contacted by the school nurse. Students with nits can stay in school, but it is expected that they be treated and the nits be removed in a timely manner. Please direct any questions to the school nurse in your child’s school.
For more information, please refer to the Center for Disease Control’s Lice Information Page.
Health Services Coordinator