Tips to Prevent Head Lice
Head lice are increasingly common among elementary school children. The following are some tips to helping children remain 'lice-free.'
- Communication is essential to keeping lice out of the classroom. Talk to parents/guardians about guarding against head lice and about the appropriate treatment. Do not assume they have heard it before.
- Teach children not to share hats, scarves, brushes, combs and hair ornaments with other kids.
- Check children often and regularly for lice.
- Encourage your school to enact strict preventive policies. This may include regular screenings at school and education of children and adults.
- Check to see that children's hats and coats are being stored in separate 'cubbies' or lockers, rather than on hooks in close proximity to one another.
- If head lice do infect children in your school, notify parents/guardians immediately. Also, give them detailed instructions on treating lice, including information on where to obtain treatment products. Be aware that some parents/guardians may be embarrassed to admit they cannot afford to purchase the necessary products. Routinely advise parents/guardians of where they can obtain treatment free of charge, even if you don't think this is an issue for the family.
- Make sure teachers and all other adults working with children in your school are aware of the issue of lice and how to treat it.
For more information, see the web page at the University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County. This site offers an award-winning video on Removing Head Lice Safely.