Head Lice, otherwise known as Pediculus Humanus Capitis. A rather large word for a creature that is so small. So small, yet so large among us. So large and so common, that there is an association named for it. The National Pediculosis Association (NPA) is a wonderful group that I have come to rely on for information and guidance. They are a non-profit volunteer association, including scientific advisors, dedicated to protecting children and their environment from the misuse and overuse of prescription and over the counter pesticide treatments for lice. They believe in combing first and foremost and believe that “if you don’t get them out, you still got ’em”! Their website, www.headlice.org has news, faq’s, reports, information of the Lice Meister lice comb they recommend and educational resources available for downloading, printing and reprinting.
One important area that they go into much detail about and one that I get asked so many questions about is “child care providers and lice”. When children begin preschool or day care, it is often their first encounter in a group setting. That being said, group settings present the challenge of close contact with each other and children contracting head lice. Head lice is so very common among young children and child care providers should establish a proactive head lice management protocol before lice outbreaks occur.
Below is a simplified outline in which child care providers should follow. You can click on the link at the bottom to go directly to the NPA website to get more in depth information.
1. Child care providers need to establish a head lice control standard. You need to communicate your policy to your staff.
2. Teach the screening process to all staff members.
3. Parent notification. Promptly inform all the parents. The parents of the child who has lice as well as the parents of the children in the class of the infected child.
4. Inspect your facility. Check that coats and hats are stored properly. Stress the no sharing of items. Dress up clothing should not be shared and stored properly as well.
5. Temporary dismissal. The infected child should be picked up and all the children should be screened.
6. Prevent new outbreaks.
7. Know that there is an administrative advantage of a No-Nit Standard.
8. There is also a medical and social advantage of a No-Nit Standard as well.
The link to the NPA’s website is www.headlice.org and if you click here you can find the more in-depth article on this topic. And, as always, when in doubt, it is always best to contact a professional. The Potomac Lice Lady is available to help and is just a phone call away. Remember, don’t let lice ruin your life!