A Lice-Free School Year with Lice Squad!
A new school year is a busy yet inspiring time for you and your child. Starting a new grade means getting back into routines and embracing opportunities to learn new things and meet new people!
As exciting as watching your child grow and experience new things is, it’s normal to worry about what’s happening at school when you’re not around. Aside from academic concerns such as homework and tests, another concern parents have throughout the school year is having to deal with head lice! These pests can create a serious nuisance for families of school-aged children if not prevented or treated with care.
CAUSES OF HEAD LICE
Contrary to popular belief, head lice isn’t a sign of poor personal or home hygiene. Lice are organisms produced by our bodies and evolve into living in our hair, using our blood as a food source. Lice are transmitted through direct contact with other people; public places where humans spend time, such as schools, can be hot spots for an outbreak.
Lice cannot jump or fly. Direct transference methods from scalp to scalp happens after sustained contact through the following ways:
- Coming into contact with another person’s head or hair. People who have long hair experience lice infestations more often than those who with short hair.
- Children playing or sitting too closely together
- Playing with someone else’s hair
- Lice can also transfer indirectly by sharing hats and scarves
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Tips from Lice Squad!
Early recognition of the signs of head lice is vital to prevent an outbreak. The most obvious and prominent symptom is itching on the scalp, ears and neck. Some children will consequently suffer from sores in the same areas due to scratching.
The secondary symptom is finding physical signs of an outbreak in your child’s hair. The lighter colour of empty eggs can be seen on the hair shaft. If you see eggs, the next step would be to do a detailed examination to find adult lice closer to the scalp.
Knowing the three stages of the head lice life cycle will assist in the successful eradication of it.
- STAGE 1:THE NIT. (the egg). The microscopic nit is laid by the female louse. Within 6-9 days, it grows into a teardrop-shaped, brownish colour. Parents can spot eggs easily around the ears and neck hairline on the hair shaft.
- STAGE 2: THE NYMPH. After six days, the egg hatches into a nymph. Since it is still microscopic, it will spend the next 7 to 10 days moulting three times (shedding its outer layer) and become darker in colour.
- STAGE 3: THE LOUSE. The third time the nymph sheds its outer layer, it emerges as an adult called a louse. It now has the ability to transmit to other scalps and lay eggs. A louse can live for three to four weeks and live closer to the scalp. They are the size of a sesame seed and light to dark brown in colour.
HOW TO PREVENT HEAD LICE
- If your child has longer hair, tie it up in a ponytail or braid. Get creative with some hairstyles that keep long hair secure.
- Remind children not to share personal items such as headphones, hats, scarves, coats, hair brushes or hair accessories. It’s also important to prompt students to use their own hooks or cubbies when storing items at school.
- Establish personal items like bedding, towels and hair brushes for each family member to prevent a spread should someone be exposed or infected.
- Once a week, take a peek! Examine your child’s head regularly to check for lice. Ensure you are completing more frequent checks if a head lice notice was sent home
Dealing with head lice is part of school life, but it doesn’t have to take over your home life with the proper precautions. For help with academics, contact the experts at an Oxford Learning near you. For a FREE Head Lice Help Kit, contact Lice Squad, Canada’s #1 Head Lice Solution! www.licesquad.com.