- The nit (egg) is laid on the hair shaft. At first it is microscopic, but it enlarges and becomes tan in colour over 6-9 days.
- The nymph hatches from the egg and immediately begins to feed on blood. It is initially microscopic, but enlarges and becomes darker in colour as it ingests blood. Over 7-10 days, it gradually gets larger, moulting three times.
- The third time the louse moults it emerges as an adult and is capable of reproduction. It is also more able to transmit to others. The louse continues to live on the head for another 14-16 days. The fertilized female lays 8-10 eggs per day.
Q AND A
Is Alvin A. McKay Elementary School having a lice epidemic? No.
Does AAMES staff provide head checks at the center? Yes.
Periodically, are there children found to have head lice? Yes.
When a child is found to have head lice the following occurs:
- A letter is sent home with the child with lice regarding head lice and how to treat.
- A courtesy letter is sent home with other children who are in attendance to let parents know a child in their program was found to have lice.
- If the child is in advanced stages of having lice, the child is sent home immediately.
- Head Lice are a human parasite, not a bug.
- They must have a human ‘host’ to feed on consistently, or they will dehydrate and die very quickly.
- Lice can only survive 48 hours without a human host.
- Ninety percent of head lice transmission happens through head-to-head contact with someone with an active case.
- It is relatively rare to catch head lice from an object in your environment.
- Once hatched lice have been removed and only eggs remain, the risk of transmission is low to non-existent.
- Nits are cemented to the hair shaft and cannot transfer to another person or object.
HOW TO TREAT
Manual removal of lice and their nits is the safest method of removal. Wet-Combing breaks up the reproductive cycle by combing out all lice, nymphs and nits before they have a chance to mature and reproduce. We recommend discontinuing the use of potentially dangerous pesticides when treating head lice.
- Divide your child’s hair into four sections.
- Use a recommended lice comb. Licemeister is the #1 recommended brand.
- Apply conditioner to dry hair one section at a time.
- Ensure you wipe your comb after each swipe on tissue or a towel to monitor your progress of the lice, nymph and eggs that you are removing.
- Once all four sections are completed, run lice comb through your child’s entire head once more. Root to tip.
- Repeat this process every 3 days until you have a clear comb out – no more eggs, nymphs or adult lice.
In Your Home:
On the evening of you first comb-out is when you will do your cleaning. During the follow-up, there is no need to clean again because the large travelers are long gone.
- Put your pillowcase and sheets in the dryer for 30 minutes, or wash and dry them as you normally would. You don’t need to worry about your actual pillow or duvet, because head lice cannot burrow. They can only stay on top of a surface for a short time without a hair to hold on to.
- If there is bedding you would like to treat but cannot wash, simply put it in the dryer for 30 minutes, or set it aside in your home for 48 hours. Any lice will dehydrate and die.
- If you have fabric headrests in your car, or a fabric sofa, give them a light vacuum or cover them with a sheet or bag for 48 hours.
On Your Belongings:
As with your home, you only need to be concerned with your belongings at the time of you first comb-out.
- Recently worn hats, wigs, helmets and hoodies can simply be set aside for 48 hours.
- Stuffed toys that cannot be spared for 48 hours can be put into the dryer for 30 minutes.
- Styling products such as brushes can be put aside for 48 hours, and towels can be washed and dried in your usual fashion.