Head lice (PDF) are a common issue at school. These tiny, flat insects live and breed on the head and pass easily from one person to another, usually through head-to-head contact. This is part of the reason why they travel so easily between children at school, who are more likely to have close contact at their desks working on a project, playing in the school yard or sharing headphones and hats.
Although head lice are a nuisance, they do not carry disease and therefore are not considered a health hazard. However, bites can result in itchy red sores that may become infected, so treatment for head lice is required. Getting head lice has nothing to do with hygiene – washing your child’s hair every day for example would not prevent lice from moving in.
Once a Week, Take a Peek!
The Thunder Bay District Health Unit encourages all parents to check their children's hair regularly for lice as a normal part of their family's personal hygiene routine.
- CHECK – your child's hair once a week.
- TREAT – if you find live lice.
- REMOVE – any live lice or nits.
- RETREAT – after 7-10 days. Remove any nits again.
- COMPLETE – a lice check within 2-3 days of final treatment and weekly after that.
Here’s what to look for:
Nits – These are the eggs: small, greyish-white, tan or yellow ovals about the size of a grain of sand. They usually stick to the hair near the scalp. (Note: dandruff is sometimes mistaken for nits.)
Nymphs – Baby lice that are greyish-tan; they look like adult lice but are much smaller.
Adults – Tan or brown in colour, about the size of a sesame seed.
Nits, nymphs, and adults can all be difficult to spot. Using a bright light and a magnifying glass can help. Read more on the Once A Week, Take a Peek (PDF) pamphlet.
Head Lice Prezi
How to Check for Head Lice
How to Treat Head Lice
For Further Information
Call the Healthy Schools Program: (807) 625-5900
or toll-free 1-888-294-6630
or Telehealth Ontario: 1-866-797-0000