About Lice

  • While it doesn't happen often, occasionally a school classroom will have a lice outbreak. Here is important information written for you by a registered nurse...

    Head Lice - The Facts

    About head lice

    Head Lice (Pediculus capitis) are small 6-legged parasitic insects that grasp to hair shafts. Their presence does not connote a lack of hygiene and are mainly acquired by direct head-to-head contact with an infested person's hair. Head lice cannot fly or jump. However, they can be transferred by sharing combs, hats and hair accessories. They can also live on other surfaces such as bedding and furniture for a brief period of time.

    A nymphal louse hatches from its egg after about 8 days of development and is in the adult stage about 9-12 days after hatching. A female louse can deposit more than 100 eggs at a rate of about 6 eggs each day. An infested person has fewer than a dozen active lice on the scalp at any time, but can have hundreds of viable, dead or hatched eggs.

    They derive the nutrients they need by blood-feeding once or more per day and cannot survive for more than a few days at room temperature without ready access to a person's blood. Louse eggs lose viability within a week of being separated from the human host


    • What can be done to prevent the spread of lice? Instruct your child to not share combs, hats or hair accessories.


    • How will I know if my child has lice? Look for signs of itching of the scalp particularly behind the ears and at the nape of the neck. If you suspect your child may have lice you can use a magnifying glass to confirm your suspicion.
    • Perform random head checks at home if there has been a school outbreak or recent exposure to someone infected with lice.


    • If your child has lice, please do the responsible thing and inform the school and others who may have had a recent contact with your child.


    • The school may not tell parents how to treat illnesses such as lice. Look on the web for information on how to treat lice and for local companies that provide lice combing services.