lice cartoon


    No healthy child should be excluded from or miss school because of head lice




    #1 Lice are easy to get; they are passed easily via hats, helmets or hair care items and can jump or fly from one person to another.

    A head louse is a wingless insect with 6 legs. It cannot jump, fly or even crawl long distances. Lice possess pincher like grasping structures that allow them to hold on to the hair shaft. There is a small possibility that hair care items may assist in the transmission of lice (such as brushes, combs or ponytail holders), but these lice are likely to be in dead or injured.

    Slick helmets, headphones etc., pose no risk of transmission due to the inability of lice to “hold on” to these items.


    #2 The Presence of nits/eggs indicates an active case of lice

    The presence of a live louse is considered the gold standard for an active infestation, not the mere presence of nits. Since nits are cemented on to the hair shaft, they cannot fall off and the hair will continue to grow with the nit attached. A viable nit is one that is closer than 6 millimeters to the scalp. Most experts agree that nits found farther that ¼ to ½ inches from the scalp are non-viable. Nits cemented on the hair shaft pose no risk to other children.

    If live lice are found during the school day, it’s likely that the child has had lice for weeks. Allowing the child to remain in the classroom for a few more hours is not putting children at risk.




    #3 Head lice breed in furniture, carpets and other household objects; You must treat the house to eliminate lice

    People are infested with lice, no things or places. A louse cannot exist without a host and will typically die within 24 hours. Eggs remain viable a bit longer, but once hatched will live must feed on the human host or they will die within hours. Items that have been in contact with the infested person within the previous 24-48 hours prior to treatment should be considered for cleaning. This includes items of clothing worn near the head and possibly carpeting /rugs if the child was lying on them. Washing/drying items in temperatures greater than >130 will kill stray

    lice and nits. Cloth or carpeted items should be vacuumed. Pesticide spray is not necessary and should not be used.



    #4 No-nit policies reduce the transmission of head lice in schools

    It is a financial loss for both schools and families when children miss school due to lice, and there is no evidence that these policies reduce the transmission. Remember- just the presence of nits does not indicate the presence of an active case of lice, especially if the nits are more than ½ inch from the scalp.

    Even if a hair with a viable nit falls off, it will not hatch at temperatures lower than the human head. Should environmental temperatures stay warm enough to hatch off the head, it must find a human host to feed.

    Remember- in most situations a child found with lice has probably had lice for a month or more and any exposure to his or her classmates has already occurred, and immediate exclusion provides no further prevention. No exclusion from any activities is necessary, including riding the bus or participating in sports.