What to Do When There is a Lice Outbreak – Schools

Whether you are a teacher, administrator or a parent, a head-lice outbreak affects everyone!

Here are the biggest concerns:

  1. How to identify head-lice quickly and accurately.
  2. How to prevent the spread of lice.
  3. How to help families deal with lice in the home.

How to identify head-lice quickly and accurately.

Bugs crawling on the head or falling on the desk. This one is a little obvious, but it is a sure sign of lice.

White specks in the hair especially at the crown, neck or around the ears. Nits can look like dirt or sand in light colored hair. These are lice eggs (nits) and they don’t fall away when touched. In fact, they have to be pulled off with your fingernails. The nits are laid close to the scalp, to take advantage of the warmth and humidity of the head. Nits are usually seen in patches (nests) of 5-10 in the area the size of a coin and are within 1/8th to 1/4 inch from the scalp. Nits are sometimes found further away from the scalp and this can be a sign of having the infestation for quite some time. Nits are not contagious, but the bugs they hatch into most definitely are!

Other signs of lice that are not so obvious.

Tangled hair. Many kids will have hair so tangly that they cry when a parent tries to brush it. Why? If there is lice present the substance that glues the nits to the hair can be hard to brush through. Especially when there are lots of nits in the hair. This can lead to hair that is difficult to manage and looks messy.

Difficulty concentrating or grumpy behavior (abnormal behavior for the child). When a kid has head-lice he is not sleeping well at night because, the bugs crawling around are keeping him awake! Often, when a kid is asked if he is itchy, he will say, “No”, but ask if he is sleeping well at night and he may say, “not really!”

Checking a large group of kids.

  1. Isolate. Determine which group has cases of head lice. You can get bogged down in checking every one in a school, but focus on the children directly exposed first.
  2. Preliminary Check. Have teachers or staff do a preliminary check. This should be done quickly and matter of factly to all kids in the classroom. reassure the child that everyone is being checked. The checker should make a note of a child that has signs or is questionable (hair may be dirty or have plant material from the playground).
  3. Recheck. The kids that are questionable should be rechecked by either a nurse or a lice professional such as Hair Maidens. It is the experience of Hair Maidens that in a class of 30, 7-8 will show signs but only 4-5 will actually have lice. Please save your parents from unnecessary stress by rechecking the kids before calling parents.
  4. Siblings. When cases have been confirmed, check siblings for signs and their class, if necessary.

How to Prevent the Spread of Lice.

Lice are most contagious when there are lots of bugs on an individual’s hair. The more bugs the quicker it spreads!

Get rid of the bugs! There are a few ways to do this and they always involve a good lice-comb.  You can use a pesticide treatment, but an all natural method will work also. Anything that will slow the bugs down can be used.  I like to use a heavy leave-in conditioner with dimethacone as the first or second ingredient. This washes out easily and makes combing with a lice comb easier. There are also natural methods on the market that both physically inhibit the bugs and lubricate the hair. These treatments make use of either dimethecone or dehydrating, all natural remedies (Vamousse), to help you along.

You must comb with a lice comb! The product that you use should help get tangles out and lubricate the hair.

Get rid of the nits! You must use a comb for this step. It sounds daunting but if you have the right comb (LiceMeister) and any conditioner or pesticide free product, you can do this yourself. Hair Maidens helps people by providing the right equipment with the right instructions for lice removal. The key to getting rid of lice is getting rid both bugs and nits. This takes a good comb out or two and repeated checks to make sure there is not breakthrough of lice.

How to help families deal with lice in the home.

Families have lots of questions! Have a consistent protocol to deal with lice outbreaks. FAQs

Handout. Check out our Free Downloadable PDFs on How to Identify Lice, How to Get Rid of Lice Forever! and FAQs. There is a lot of information here for families. Or just refer them to www.utahhairmaidens.com for a list of services and products.

Cleaning the Environment. This really is a no brainer. Wash and Dry (Hot dryer) everything that came into contact with the head for the last 24 hours. If you can’t wash it, just don’t use it for three days.

Educate Families. Hair Maidens has a goal. Everyone should have access to  up to date information to get rid of their lice problem. Whether a family gets direct help with a Hair Maidens professional or needs to know why the lice keeps coming back, our goal is to make head lice removal easy and affordable for everyone! We have information for families on our website for FREE. We offer Free Head Checks on the first Friday of every month in our office. We are happy to provide your school with affordable lice kits with full instructions that anyone can afford.

School Protection Plan – Become a preferred customer.

Hair Maidens offers the School Protection Plan (SPP) to provide one-on-one help for all your families to serve their lice removal needs. As a preferred customer your school can benefit from the following services for your families.

Lice outbreak emergencies. Your school can benefit from our expertise with free head checks for students. We can come to your school and check the students that are suspected to have lice (2 hr limit, Value $250)  We can also treat any affected individuals for a reduced rate (15% off) before they even go home. This service is available by request and we will respond within 24 hrs.

Lice Hot Line. Lice questions will be answered the same day and any relevant materials will be emailed to the families, if necessary.

Free Monthly Head Checks (optional)! Your families can schedule a free private head checks for students anytime. Limit one/family member/ month (Value $25/person)

Discounts on Products or Services. We offer a 15% discount to family members (no limit) while they are attending your school. All services are performed by appointment and usually within 24 hrs.

Free Newsletter. Hair Maidens has a bi-monthly newsletter that is provided free to all who wish to Learn More About Lice!

The fee for this service is $39.95/month (for a group of 200 or less, please call for a quote for your school) for a 12 month period. Protect your school from Head Lice, forever!