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    Dear Parent/guardian,

     

    Today _________ , I found evidence of pediculosis, also known as head lice, in your child’s hair.  Please understand that I have taken careful steps to protect your child’s privacy during this process; that is very important to me.  Although I know this is not the most pleasant news to get from the school nurse, it’s also a relatively simple and inexpensive condition to treat.  (It does take some time, persistence and patience, though!) 

    For many good reasons  (see the information sheet that came with this letter), we require that children who have evidence of live head lice be sent home, and that parents follow through with procedures to remove the lice. This usually takes only one day, two at the most, and after two full day’s absence, your child’s absence will be subject to non-attendance policies, so please help him or her get back to school as quickly as possible.

    Our recommendations for treatment below are for the next two weeks.  After the first day or two, though, it is as simple as combing your child’s hair each day, and doing a little extra vacuuming.  Our philosophy and procedures are supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National Association of School Nurses, and the Texas Dept. of State Health Services, and the Harvard School of Public Health.  They all have websites if you’d like to do some extra reading.

     

    For the next two weeks:

    Day 1___________________ – hopefully, when you picked up your child at school, you came in to visit. If not, please stop by and I’ll show you where the lice/nits are.  Some parents have never seen them, and I’ll be happy to show you how to look.  It’s an important task for you to do on a regular basis. 

    1.      Get a “Licemeister” or other long, metal lice comb (the plastic ones do not work as well) from Walmart or CVS or Walgreens – they cost about $10. 

    2.      Wet your child’s hair, divide it into small sections with clippies or hairpins, and in the bathtub or outside, comb through each section of hair with the lice comb thoroughly.  You’ll need to clean the comb at intervals, too, because the lice and nits will get caught in the comb. Dental floss, or strong thread will work to clean out the comb, and it comes with directions for cleaning after each use as well.

    3.      Gather up the bed linens from the beds and wash them in hot laundry water, and dry them on the hottest dryer cycle, or take them outside to hang dry in the sun. Take any stuffed animals, throw rugs or bed items that cannot be washed and put them in a plastic bag for the week.

    4.      Vacuum any carpets and cloth furniture, including the car seats.

    5.      Rest…you’ve done a lot today!

     

    Day 2 – ________________________Repeat steps 2 and 4 above, and finish anything else that you didn’t get done on day one.  Hang in there, it gets easier!

     

    Days 3-7   ______________________Just do the combing and vacuuming each day. You can take the bagged items out of the bags now. Do the laundry again.

     

    Days 8-14  ________________________Just do the combing each day, preferably in the morning before school. 

     

    Days 1 and 2 should have taken care of biggest concerns and your child needs to be back in school by day 3 at the latest.  We want him or her to return as quickly as possible.  BE SURE to stop by my office on the way in so I can check your child with you there…that good communication between us helps tremendously. I am here to give the best possible health care for your child and all the other children in school.  You should always discuss all the treatment options with your health care provider and make the decision you think is best for your child, and again, you can reach me by phone or in person during school time. 

     

    Some things we encourage you NOT TO DO to get rid of the lice:

    We DO NOT advocate using the pesticide shampoos on the market such as Rid, Nix, and all those others out there, even if they say “non-toxic” or “natural.”  There is strong evidence that they are not as effective as they once might have been, and it is still putting pesticides (something that kills bugs) on your child’s head, close to their eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.  You will find, however, that many other health care providers do recommend these treatments, however, and you should always follow the advice of your own personal health care provider.  Never put anything dangerous like kerosene or gasoline or bug spray or pet shampoos for insects on your child’s head. 

    Another thing we DO NOT encourage is the use of lice sprays or other bug sprays for the house, car, furniture, etc.  Houses and cars don’t get head lice…people do.  Those sprays are costly and not very effective during most of the stages of growth of the insects… it’s a waste of your time and money, and does not produce the desired results!

     

    Please call me if you have any questions; working together we can get your child back into class quickly and lice-free.