School has begun and head lice has too in some area schools.
Head lice can affect anyone and are most common in the 3-11 year old age group.
According to Northern Health, reactions to head lice can significantly interfere with a child’s emotional wellbeing, social status in the classroom, and ability to learn.
Reactions to head lice can also subject children to teasing, bullying and isolation. For these reasons, head lice infestations should be treated right away.
Head lice are tiny insects that live on the human scalp. They do not transmit disease and are not a health hazard.
Having head lice is not because of being unclean or a reflection of poor personal hygiene.
Head lice can be acquired by direct head-to-head contact with an infested person’s hair or by sharing combs or hats. It can be spread very quickly especially in a school environment.
Head lice facts:
– Head lice are tiny insects about the size of a sesame seed and can vary from white to brown in colour.
– Head lice live only on a person’s head and may only survive 1-2 days away from the scalp as they need human blood in order to survive.
– Head lice do not jump or fly.
– They can move quickly on dry hair, so they are difficult to see.
– Head lice bites can be very itchy.
It’s important that children get treated quickly to prevent spread to other families.
According to Northern Health, this is what parents can do:
– Be aware of the symptoms of head lice and treatment procedures. (there are special treatments, combs and shampoos available)
– Check the heads of all family members on a weekly basis. Increase this to daily checks if a case of head lice has occurred in your child’s classroom.
– Teach your children not to share hair accessories, hats, coats, combs, brushes, etc.
– Inform all other contacts so other cases can be found and treated.
– Decrease the risk of reinfection by braiding long hair or putting it in an up do. (also by keeping hair short)
For more information on head lice and treatments contact the Public Health Unit at: (250) 996-7178.