Head Lice 101

  • Dear Families,    Head Lice are a common community problem.  Here is some information you may find helpful should the need arise. 
    As always please feel free to contact me directly at the clinic regarding any individual questions or concerns regarding your student or our school policy on this issue at jrillsto@maclay.org or the direct line to the clinic at 850-893-5030.
    Maclay School maintains a No Nit Policy in regard to return to school following an active case of head lice  It reads as follows:
    Maclay School maintains a "No Nit" policy regarding head lice. Students found with either head lice or nits (their eggs) will be sent home for treatment and may return to school only after being re-checked by the school nurse and found to be free of both lice and nits.
    I've included the following information, from the National Association of School Nurse's educational initiative entitled, Headfirst!Lice Lessons 101, which I hope you'll find helpful should the need arise. 

    What You Should Know About Head Lice

    Head lice are a common community problem. An estimated 6 to 12 million infestations occur each year in the United States, most commonly among children ages 3 to 11 years old. Children attending preschool or elementary school, and those who live with them, are the most commonly affected.

    Head lice are not dangerous. They do not transmit disease, but they do spread easily, making it a community issue. Additionally, despite what you might have heard, head lice often infest people with good hygiene and grooming habits.Your family, friends or community may experience head lice. It’s important to know some basics, including how to recognize symptoms and what to do if faced with an infestation.

    What Are Head Lice?

    Head lice are tiny, wingless insects that live close to the human scalp. They feed on human blood.  An adult louse is the size of a sesame seed. Baby lice, or nymphs, are even smaller. Nits are the tiny, teardrop-shaped lice eggs. They attach to the hair shaft, often found around the nape of the neck or the ears. Nits can look similar to dandruff, but cannot be easily removed or brushed off.

    How Are Head Lice Spread?

    1. Head lice move by crawling and cannot jump or fly.
    2. Head lice are mostly spread by direct head-to-head contact – for example, during play at home or school, slumber parties, sports activities or camp.
    3. It is possible, but not common, to spread head lice by contact with items that have been in contact with a person with head lice, such as clothing, hats, scarves or coats, or other personal items, such as combs, brushes or towels.
    4. Head lice transmission can occur at home, school or in the community.

    What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Infestation?

    Signs and symptoms of infestation include

    1. Tickling feeling on the scalp or in the hair
    2. Itching (caused by the bites of the louse)
    3. Irritability and difficulty sleeping (lice are more active in the dark)
    4. Sores on the head (caused by scratching, which can sometimes become infected)

    5. Finding a live nymph or adult louse on the scalp or in the hair is an indication of an active infestation. They are most commonly found behind the ears and near the neckline at the back of the head.
    Fast Facts
    • An estimated 6 to 12 million infestations occur each year among U.S. children 3 to 11 years of age
    • Head lice often infest people with good hygiene
    • Head lice move by crawling; they cannot jump or fly
    • Head lice do not transmit disease, but they do spread easily
    • If you or your child exhibits signs of an infestation, it is important to talk to your doctor to learn about treatment options