Head lice are a problem, and a chronic head lice problem, especially at school, is an even bigger one. However, due to misunderstandings about chronic head lice, some people are only prolonging the problem instead of actually solving it.
What you might not know about chronic head lice
Head lice are very common, especially in elementary schools, where as many as a quarter of the students can have lice at any time.
Head lice do not care how clean the hair is, or the age or sex of the person they infest.
Head lice cannot survive long away from a human host and will not live on furniture, bedding, or carpet.
Chronic head lice are caused by a resistance to lice treatments.
Daily nit removal is the most crucial part of head lice treatment, particularly for chronic head lice.
Schools may need to hold periodic lice checks so that all students can be treated at the same time.
What schools can do about chronic head lice
Each school may have its own protocol for dealing with chronic head lice. Some schools may require the student to stay at home until treatment has been completed, while others do not find this necessary.
Generally, if head lice are found, then a note will be sent home to parents to inform them of the situation. Parents are then encouraged to check and treat their own children and family members for chronic head lice. Teachers and other school staff should also be examined for head lice.
The school can also be helpful by informing parents of the proper way to treat and prevent chronic head lice in their own home. Students will be encouraged to avoid head-to-head contact and the sharing of hats, combs, headphones, etc. Chronic head lice can easily be passed from one family member to another, so make sure that everyone in the family receives a thorough check.
In severe cases of chronic head lice, the school may need to take a whole school and whole community approach to deal with the problem.
Things parents can do to prevent chronic head lice
The best thing that parents can do to prevent chronic head lice is to be informed of what head lice are, how they are spread, and how they should be treated. Children’s hair should be checked regularly for signs of chronic lice. Longer hair should be worn tied back or braided while at school. A lice comb can also be used during hair washings to remove lice and nits.
Treating chronic head lice
Chronic head lice generally come from one of two sources – either a failure to perform head lice treatments properly or an actual resistance to the medications being used. Many cases of chronic head lice are the result of a failure to remove nits and/or treat the environment and patient effectively. Nit picking is a crucial part of any chronic head lice treatment.
In the case of an actual resistance to the medication, chronic head lice can sometimes be treated through homeopathic remedies and nit picking. Prescription products may also be needed to help eliminate chronic head lice.