Elementary school sees high risk of head lice

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Southwest works to put an end to the pest

Head lice are small, wingless and blood-sucking insects that live in the hair on a person’s head and feed off the blood from the scalp.

They are contagious, and a person may become infected by contact with an infected person, sharing personal items with an infected person and from fabric used or touched by an infected person.

Generally, young school age children are at a higher risk for getting head lice. Also, family members of school aged children, and people who work in fields with young children.

Jeff Payne, Southwest elementary principal, said lice is an issue that is dealt with every year, but this year, it seems to be a little worse.

“District policy is that we are to send home students with live lice,” Payne said. “We’ve had to send quite a few students home


According to Payne, many parents have called in stating that their child or children have lice, and they have never had lice before.

“Unfortunately, lice is an issue that cannot be fixed with just a treatment of lice shampoo,” Payne said. “It takes a lot of time and effort to get rid of lice.”

Payne said parents must find everything that their child came into contact with, such as clothes, backpacks, coats, bedding, combs/brushes, car seats, etc., and clean them with lice combs.

“Parents also must be vigilant in checking their children’s hair,” Payne said. “They should be looking for live bugs and/or nits.

“While there is little the school can do to get rid of lice [we cannot treat], we do try to help with preventing the spread of lice.”

According to Payne, students use their own headphones for computers and are instructed not to share hats/coats.

“We also are providing trash bags for each student to put their backpack and coat in during the day,” Payne said. “Our students hang their backpacks and coats in the hallway on a picket fence, and utilizing the trash bags will keep their items separated from one another’s items.

“I don’t know how much it will help, but it won’t hurt,” Payne said. “We have sent home treatments this year and have spent at least $300 so far for the year.”

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