Health Services » Lice Information

Lice Information

WESTFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

WESTFIELD, NEW JERSEY

 

 

MANAGEMENT OF PEDICULOSIS

 

Pediculosis (Head Lice) infestations can occur anywhere but are most common among preschool and elementary school age children and their household members regardless of socioeconomic status or hygiene. Head lice are a nuisance, not a health hazard. Head lice do not spread any known disease. The presence of head lice can negatively affect families through unnecessary absenteeism, missed learning opportunities for the student and potentially lost family wages due to loss of parent/guardian workdays.

 

The district has updated its previous "no-nit" practice to reflect current evidence-based practice recommendations from the CDC (Center for Disease Control), AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), NASN (National Association of School Nurses) and HSPH (Harvard School of Public Health). All sources advise that students with live lice or nits (lice eggs) may remain in school. 

 

FACTS ABOUT LICE AND NITS SUPPORTED BY MEDICAL EXPERTS:

  1. Head lice are a nuisance, not a disease and pose no medical threats to the child or others. Children with the common cold, which is easily passed from student to student, are allowed to stay in school. Children with head lice, who are not sick and pose no risk of illness, should not be excluded from school.
  2. By the time lice are discovered, the child has usually had them for 3-4 weeks. They have been in school that entire time therefore it makes no sense to immediately exclude them from class.
  3. Most importantly, school is not a high risk area for getting lice. Over the last 14 years, multiple studies have proven that the school rarely is the site of lice transmission. Scientific research has shown that keeping students with eggs or lice, out of school does NOT reduce the amount of head lice at school.

WHAT THE SCHOOL NURSE WILL DO IF A STUDENT COMPLAINS OF AN ITCHY HEAD:

  • Examine the scalp of a student who complains of an “itchy head”
  • Notify that child’s parent if lice, nits or any other concern is found 
  • Advise that child’s parents to contact their healthcare provider or pharmacist for recommended treatment options
  • Encourage those parents to notify the parents of children with whom their child may have had head-to-head or close physical contact to check their child for head lice

 

Resources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/index.html 
  2. https://www.state.nj.us/health/cd/documents/faq/headlice_faq.pdf
  3. https://www.nasn.org/nasn/programs/educational-initiatives/lice-lessons
  4. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/from-insects-animals/Pages/Signs-of-Lice.aspx
  5. https://www.healthychildren.org/spanish/health-issues/conditions/from-insects-animals/Paginas/Signs-of-Lice.aspx  (Spanish Translation of #4)

 

Please feel free to contact us.

 

The Westfield Public Schools Nurses