LICE ALERT RE: PLEASE CHECK YOUR CHILD REGULARLY

LICE ALERT

Dear Families,

We did a full school screening for lice today. We did find a few positive cases.
When we get an number of reported cases in 2-3 classes, we do a full screening. If your child came home with a letter today, they have nits and you need to treat their hair tonight before bringing them back to school tomorrow. Follow up with many days of combing to be sure all of the eggs are out. The policy is to send home any student with live lice. If your child was out today for any reason, and missed the screening, the clinicians will be returning on Friday, April 7 and your child will be screened.
All positive cases today will be re-screened Friday, April 7.

Please check your kids tonight and regularly. We need to be proactive.

I am sending you this email because we had 3 cases reported to us. PLEASE call me in the office (212-982-0682 X2102) if you find lice or nits on your child so we can notify the rest of the class. We never mention the child who has lice by name, only that “a case of lice has been reported…”

In order to stop the spread of this nuisance, we ask that you read the following carefully.
Head lice are tiny, wingless bugs that live on human blood. They are spread by human contact (usually head to head) or shared personal articles such as hats and hairbrushes. Head lice do not jump or fly or live on pets. They do not discriminate by age group or demographics. Having a case of head lice is a matter of bad luck—no different than catching step throat or any other contagious illness—and millions of school children are infested every year. The difference is that lice can be treated at home, and must be treated effectively, will frequent follow-up, in order to get rid of them completely.

IDENTIFYING NITS AND LICE
Identifying head lice can be difficult. The adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, moves quickly and often takes the color of the child’s hair. Nits or louse eggs are teardrop-shaped, translucent brown or grayish white and stick tightly to the hair shaft, close to the scalp. Often they are found at the nape of the neck and above and behind the eras. They feel like tiny grains of rice and cannot be flicked off like dirt or dandruff.
To find lice and nits, work in bright light or direct sunlight and use a magnifying glass or glasses. Part and examine the hair carefully, section by small section.

Pay particular attention to the crown, nape of the neck, and above and behind the ears. Large plastic clips are very helpful for sectioning off the hair if your child has long hair.
Head scratching and itchy scalp are the most obvious signs and symptoms. You may find scabs on your child’s head or neck from persistent scratching. If you are unsure of what you are finding, please let me know and I’ll help you.

IF YOUR CHILD HAS NITS AND/OR LICE, FOLLOW THESE STEPS:
• Notify me, even if the lice were discovered over a weekend or during a school break.

• Purchase a NON-PESTICIDE-based, over-the-counter lice killing shampoo, or use a mixture of regular shampoo and peppermint oil. Work the shampoo into your child’s hair; let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse out.
• Nits must be combed out with a metal nit comb. Professional nit combs work far better than the small ones sold at chain drug stores. They can be found on Amazon.com (e.g. Nit Free Terminator Lice Comb).
• Divide your child’s hair into four sections. Saturate a section with a paste made of Pantene hair conditioner and baking soda. Comb the hair while it is still wet, section-by-section, from the scalp down to the end of the hair.
• Wipe the comb off after each swipe on damp white Bounty paper towels.
• After doing this, wash your child’s hair, blow it dry, then check again for any nits that may have been left behind and remove them by hand.

THIS PROCESS MUST BE REPEATED EVERY DAY FOR UP TO TEN DAYS—AS LONG AS YOU ARE STILL FINDING NITS. Damaged or dead nits look very much like live nits, so you need to make sure they’re all gone.

CLEAN UP
• Soak all combs, brushes, barrettes, hair ties, etc in hot water and lice shampoo or bleach overnight.
• Heat kills lice and knits. Machine wash, dry-clean or place hats, coats, scarves, and clothes or bedding that have been used within the last week in a hot dryer for 20 minutes. Adult lice can only live for 48-55 hours at room temperature.
• Items that cannot be laundered, such as stuffed animals or throw pillows, can be thoroughly vacuumed or sealed in plastic bags for 2 weeks. Furniture, carpets and car seats can also be vacuumed.
• All family members should be checked daily for 2 weeks and treated if lice and/or nits are found.
• Shampoo does not kill nits, so any that are left on the hair will hatch in about one week. A second treatment is recommended about a week after the first one. If you are using a commercial lice shampoo, check the instructions on the box.
• Notify parents of children your child has played with frequently or had a sleepover with.
• Lice can only survive on human hosts; those that may have gotten onto furniture or clothing are probably already dying. You don’t need to turn your apartment upside down.

PREVENTION
In the interest of prevention, we strongly recommend the following:
• Students with shoulder-length hair should wear it braided, pulled back, or “up” in some way.
• Massage a little oil—olive, tea tree, rosemary, neem or any kind you like—into your child’s scalp every day. This is an excellent preventive method; the scent is a deterrent to lice, and their eggs cannot adhere to a hair shaft with oil on it
• Shampoo hair regularly—at least every other day—and blow dry afterwards. Remember, heat kills lice and nits and while it won’t treat a lice infestation, it can help prevent one.
• Brush or comb hair daily
• Wash hairbrushes, combs, etc every week; wash hats and scarves frequently,
• Remind your child not to share hats, scarves, brushes, combs or any kind of headgear.

Please let me know if I can be of assistance.

Good luck and all best wishes,
James