Headlice or ‘Nits’

HEADLICE ARE VERY COMMON AMONGST PRIMARY-AGED SCHOOL CHILDREN. THEY ARE ATTRACTED TO CLEAN, PULLED BACK, TIGHTLY-FASTENED HAIR BECAUSE THEY CAN GRIP ONTO TIGHT HAIR EASILY.

What to do if your child gets headlice:

  1. Don’t panic! It is treatable.
  2. Don’t blame the school! We cannot be responsible for whether or not parents take action when headlice are present. Staff at school are not allowed to search for headlice, so if you see them on your child, please tell us and we will send a letter home.
  3. Many parents complain that they have treated their child’s headlice and got rid of them and then they are infested again after a couple of days.This is usually because the eggs that the previous lice have laid have now hatched – not because another child has re-infected them.
  4. If your child has headlice, you could buy one of the expensive treatments from the chemist. You will have to buy the treatment for each member of your family. These do work. However – there is a cheaper option!

Headlice cannot grip to a slippery surface. If headlice are found, they will already be adults and will have laid eggs on the scalp. To remove the adult headlice:

  • Wash the child’s hair.
  • Apply a lot of cheap conditioner (a large bottle from the £1 shop will do).
  • Comb the hair with a wide-toothed comb.
  • Then comb the hair with a very narrow-toothed comb (a ‘nit-comb’) from the chemist.
  • Then ask the child to tip his/her head forwards. Apply more conditioner if necessary.
  • Comb the hair forward from nape to the ends with a wide-toothed comb.
  • Then comb with a ‘nit comb’.
  • Ask your child to tip his/her head backwards. Apply more conditioner if necessary.
  • Comb the hair with a wide-toothed comb.
  • Then comb with a ‘nit comb’.
  • Rinse and dry hair as normal.

THIS ENSURES THAT THE HAIR IS COMBED FROM THREE DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS AND THAT ALL HEADLICE ARE CAUGHT.

You have got rid of the mobile headlice – however – you have NOT got rid of the nits (the eggs)!

5. The ‘nits’ are the eggs laid by the live headlice. They are stuck to the scalp and cannot be removed. They will hatch in a couple of days and your child will have headlice again, only this time, they will be babies!

6. The baby headlice cannot lay their own eggs until they are 2 days old, so the trick is to get rid of them WHILST the headlice are still babies and BEFORE they are adult (2 days old).

7. It is therefore ESSENTIAL that you repeat the treatment every day for a week to ensure that the newly hatched headlice are removed. (This is why it is much better to use a cheap conditioner).

8. It is also essential that you treat everyone in the family for headlice and ensure that hairbrushes are cleaned and washed.

Headlice are resilient insects and WILL return if parents/carers are not vigilant. In a school environment, staff and children alike are susceptible to headlice (I get them at least once  a year!).

IF WE ARE VIGILANT AND ENSURE THAT TREATMENT IS PERFORMED EACH DAY FOR A WEEK, THE HEADLICE WILL GO – IT’S A LOT OF WORK – BUT IT’S WORTH IT!

Many thanks

Cathie Masztalerz – Headteacher


Safeguarding Notice

St Stephen's C.E. Primary School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all children. We expect all staff and visitors to share this commitment. For more information, please click here to read our Policies document.

You must accept our Safeguarding Policy to continue to browse our website.