HEAD LICE - WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW
Whether your child’s hair is long or short, clean or dirty, many families with school aged
children and teenagers will have contact with head lice.
Be prepared and know how to treat and control head lice if there is an outbreak at
your child’s school.
whAT ARE HEAD LICE
Head lice are tiny insect parasites that live on your head and feed on your scalp (the skin covering your head).
They reproduce by laying their eggs (nits) on your hair shaft (the part of your hair closest to the scalp).
Head lice are not dangerous, do not carry diseases, and are not a sign of poor hygiene (cleanliness).
IF YOU FIND HEAD LICE
how do people catch head lice?
Head lice spread by head-to-head contact
with another person who has head lice. This kind of contact includes group work at school, playing or hugging.
Head lice can run from one head to another
in seconds. They cannot fly, jump or swim,
but they can swing from one hair to another.
Brushes and combs are unlikely to spread
head lice or their eggs as they are very hard
to detach from the hair shaft.
Head lice are not spread through bed linen,
clothing or head gear (hats and helmets)
because they do not leave the scalP unless
they are moving to another person, or when they are dead or dying.
STAY HOME FROM SCHOOL
Under the School Education Act 1999, if your child has head lice the Principal may keep him or her away from school until treatment has started.
Your child may return to school when all live head lice have been removed. There is no need to stay away from school if there are only a few remaining eggs, but you must continue treatment over the following 10 days to ensure that all eggs and hatchlings have been removed.
signs and symptoms
Your scalp may itch as your skin reacts to the saliva of the head lice. This itchiness can take weeks to develop. If you have had head lice before, your skin may become less sensitive and there may be little or no itch.
You may also be able to see head lice
crawling in your hair, although they can
be difficult to spot as they move quickly.