Head Lice Scr eening by maclaren1


                                                   Head Lice Scr eening
A Suggested                                        One to two weeks prior to the scr eening date:
                                                   Notify teachers that the screening is scheduled. (To avoid schedule conflicts,

Procedural                                         be sure to first check school site events and holiday calendars). Provide
                                                   teachers with a brief work plan outline, which should include information
                                                   on head lice infestations, re-infestations, rationale for school wide screenings,
Work-Site Plan                                     and screening date.

By Kathryn Schwabl, MS, RN, PHN                    Send a parent notification letter signed by the school nurse and site
                                                   administrator, if deemed appropriate. The notification letters may also include
Kathryn Schwabl has worked in school               suggestions that will help parents to assess their children and the surrounding
nursing for over 25 years. She is currently        household for signs and symptoms of lice and nits.
the School Health Specialist for alternative
education with the Orange County, CA               The correspondence sent to parents may include the following information
Department of Education. Prior to that she         on assessing for head lice.
was a school health consultant with the
Los Angeles County office of Education.
We hope that you enjoy this information. If
you have any questions or comments that
would help make this draft a more                                                           Equipment needed:
informative piece, please email Kathryn
Schwabl kschwabl@access.k12.ca.us
This draft has been printed as a public service                                             Tongue blades or narr ow
                                                                                            wooden sticks/picks
by Quantum, Inc., makers of HairClean
                                                                                            (which are disposable per child).
1-2-3 Lice Remover. 1-800-LICE-877.
                                                                                            Magnifying glass.
One of the biggest challenges faced by school
nurses today is conducting school-wide head
lice screenings. With head lice infestation on
the rise and lowered staffing budgets, finding
the time and staff to implement this task has          Signs and
become increasingly difficult to arrange               Symptoms of
successfully. If you have determined that a            head lice:
school-wide head lice screening is necessary,          Persistent itching or scratching             at the back of the head or
here is a simple work plan that can maximize           around the ears; also scratch marks           that may look like a rash,
the efficiency of the screening and provide            indicate the early signs of head lice. A tickling feeling of something
positive outcomes for the school community.            moving in the hair and small sores on the scalp are usually caused by
                                                       scratching at the invested area. Some children do not itch, but head
Immediately after the need for school wide             lice may still be present.
screening is determined inform the school site
administrator and obtain approval for conducting       Pr ocedure:
the school-wide screening. Also discuss the            Check the hair shafts for head lice or their
appropriateness of the site administrator co-          nits. Lice are difficult to see. Nits stick tightly
signing any related school wide announcements          to hair shafts and are a pearly, iridescent color.
to staff and parents                                   The use of a bright light, tongue blade or
                                                       other devise to separate hairs and a magnifying
Arrange for one trained volunteer per every            glass makes identifying lice easier.
200 students to assist with the screening.
Volunteers should be trained, reminded of
confidentiality issues, and their competency                    Continues on back....
approved by a credentialed school nurse.
continued from front                                                      • Earphones used for personal         A letter should also be sent to all
                                          Samples of                        audio/radio.                        parents, indicating that lice have
                                       class discussion                   • Sharing lockers or hanging          been identified in the school and
Once lice ar e detected:                topics include:                     clothes together on coat hooks      what to look for and do.
It is extremely important to                                              • School uniforms, costumes or
check those persons known to        What are head lice?                     gym clothing.                       Best practice includes personal
have closely associated with the    Head lice are tiny six legged,                                              follow-up calls to parents by
infested individuals; including     wingless insects. They are a little   Other avenues of spread include:      school nurse or trained volun-
family, friends and schoolmates.    bigger than the period at the end     car and theatre seats, which are      teers. This helps ensure follow-
It is recommended that those        of a sentence. They may change        soft and warm; batting helmets,       through for proper treatment,
outside the immediate circle of     their color to match the hair color   which are dark and warm and           information, and resource
friends such as relatives,          on a person’s head. They like to      switched quickly.                     assistance for families in need.
babysitters, sports groups, etc.,   live close by their food source:
be informed of the infestation,     blood that is from a person's scalp   How do we find head lice?             Follow-up to
so that they also may be            area. Lice do not pose any health     Head lice like to hide in our hair    Screening Day
assessed for lice infestation.      risk, but they can make a person’s    and on our scalps. The school         Each teacher and parent should
                                    head itch a lot, which makes the      nurse will need to carefully search   clearly understand that identi-
Notifications to parents may        person want to scratch a lot. Head    every section of hair on your head    fied students are not to reenter
also include suggestions for        lice lay eggs on the scalp. Head      to locate head lice.                  classrooms without a visit to the
safe methods of treatment for       lice eggs are called nits.                                                  health office for a clearance by
family members if head lice or                                            If students have head lice,           a credentialed school nurse or
nits are detected. Best practice                                          here's what we'll do:                 trained designee.
is to include a statement that                                            We'll send a parent note home
parents may wish to contact                                               with those students, which will
their personal health care                                                explain how to get rid of the head
provider for advice or                                                    lice. Usually this means using a
treatment. Also, invite parents     Who can get head lice?                special shampoo according to the
to contact school health office     Anyone can get head lice. Lice        directions on the label. Different    The school nurse or a trained
for questions or resources for      are not concerned about skin or       products have different directions.   volunteer should be scheduled
assistance, if needed. Treat-       hair color, males and females,         Always read the product label.       on school site for the next two
ment suggestions may include        how old a person's head is. Or        After that, the parents must look     days, to assist with follow-up
the use of anti-lice shampoos,      even how much money someone           through their students’ hair and,     assessments on students and to
rinses and gels, combined with      has. Head lice are "equal             with a special comb, remove any       provide any additional support
thorough combing. Encourage         opportunity" critters. In other       lice or nits they find.               for families still infested. s
parents to speak openly with        word, head lice like to live with
their children regarding head       everyone! Many students all           How to help each other look
lice and methods to avoid           across America get head lice.         for head lice:                        SuggestedReading/Resources:
exposure to them. Suggestions       So, if a student does get head        Teachers can be creative here,        Benenson, Abram S., Control of
for lice discussion topics are in   lice, it is nothing to be             using methods that are fun and        Communicable Diseases in Man,
the next section.                   embarrassed or ashamed about.         interesting to the students.          Sixteenth Edition, American
                                                                                                                Public Health Association,
Week of the screening:                                                    On the day of the screening:          Washington, DC, 1995.
Provide teachers with a                                                   Starting with the youngest age
written schedule that includes                                            groups, have each class line up       Committee on Infectious
the date and time each teacher                                            in the order of a printed class       Diseases, American Academy of
is to have students lined up at                                           roster.                               Pediatrics, The Red Book Report,
the health office door or                                                                                       Twenty Sixth Edition, American
designated screening location.                                            Depending on school policy, the       Academy of Pediatrics, Elk
Encourage teachers to discuss       How do head lice spread?              identified students may be            Grove Village, IL 1999.
the upcoming screening with         Direct head-to-head contact           allowed to return to their
                                                                                                                       “My Special Day”
their students and ways that        spreads lice. Lice do not fly or      classroom in order to alleviate
students can support each                                                                                        A coloring sheet designed to
                                    jump. They crawl very, very fast.     any possible anxiety or peer
other on, or prior to that date.                                                                                teach young students about head
                                    Sharing personal items can            pressure on the day of screening.
Stress the importance of            spread head lice.                                                           lice. The sheet includes simple
                                                                          Give each teacher a copy of
empowering the students                                                   his/her class roster with the         information on lice treatment,
through awareness education         Examples include:                     circled names. At the end of the      also related household cleaning
to help alleviate any               • Personal items (clothing,           school day, have the teachers         instructions, and is an appropri-
embarrassment and fears               combs, headbands, hats,             gather the students that will be      ate classroom tool to use in
about head lice. An                   “scrunchies” and scarves)           in need of home treatments.           conjunction with a school wide
educational coloring sheet          • Towels, linens, pillow,             Provide each identified student       screening. “My Special Day” is
designed for student use is a         carpeting and naptime               with an envelope containing the       printed in English, Spanish and
fun way to help educate about         blankets                            head lice notification letter and     French. Copies may be obtained,
head lice and what can be           • Stuffed animals, dolls and          suggestions to the parent for         free of charge, by calling:
done about them.                      cloth toys.                         treatment options for their child.    1-877-LICE-877.

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