Lice (Pediculosis)

Lice (Pediculosis) Don't Let It Bug You

  • Head lice and treatment can be challenging.  Anyone can get head lice but it usually comes from a close contact source.  Often times, head lice will impact the family as a whole.  Check all family members and treat those that are seen to have live lice.  Nits should be addressed daily by picking out the nits.  This is imperative to a successful treatment plan.  It will take 7-10 days for nits (eggs) to hatch.  If all nits within 1/2″ of the scalp are not removed, some may hatch and your child will be infested again. Check everyone in the house for head lice. Treat only household members with head lice and treat them all at once. Children need to stay home until the first treatment is completed AND no live lice are seen. Nits are not considered live lice and a student may attend school with nits. However, parents should continue removing nits daily at home.

    Treatments:  A prescription or store-bought lice killing products such as Rid or Nix is available.  Follow the directions carefully.  If it says to repeat in 7-10 days, you must do so along with nit picking.  This is vital to breaking the life cycle.  Sometimes, lice does not respond to over-the-counter treatments requiring a more ovacidal prescription treatment.  Contact your healthcare provider for treatment advice.  Click here for a list of effective treatments.

    Exclusion from school:  If live lice are seen, student will go home and be treated.  The student may return the next day.  Per school policy, if the students with live lice has siblings, those students will be checked as well.  Nits are not considered live lice and a student may attend school with nits.  If nits are noted, parent contact will be made and rechecked by the school nurse in approximately 5 days.


    Myth vs Truth

    Myth:  Lice can jump or fly.

    Truth:  Lice can NOT jump or fly, they only crawl.


    Myth:  Lice can live a long time off the body.

    Truth:  Lice can only live approximately 48 hours off the head.  Lice only lay eggs when on the head.  The eggs (nits) will not hatch if they fall of the head.


    Myths:  Lice can spread to or from out pets.

    Truth:  Lice does NOT spread from our animals or to our animals.


    Myth:  Cold water is best to kill lice.

    Truth:  It is HOT water and hot temp in the dryer for a minimum of 20 minutes in order to kill lice.  Any items that can not be washed/dried, place in a dry sealed plastic bag for 2 weeks.


    Myth:  Screening or checking whole classes will eliminate lice from the school setting.

    Truth:  Lice is always present.  If a student exhibit signs of possible head lice, the student may be checked by the school health nurse.  If a pattern or multiple cases occur in a specified class or environment, the school health nurse may check other students.  According to the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) does not recommend mass screenings or classroom routine checks as best practice.  


    Source - Prevention and Control of Communicable Diseases:  A Guide for School Administrators, Nurses, Teachers, Child Care Providers, and Parents or Guardians;  Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services-Bureau of Communicable Disease Control and Prevention

    American Academy of Pediatrics Position Statement

    Republic School Policy JHC and Procedure JHC-AP2