Just so you know
Parents and Legal Guardians
Erin Reilly, Principal
Treatment of Head Lice
This letter references a letter from Alberta Health Services written on September 25, 2018.
We have two confirmed students with head lice in Red Earth Creek School, and we are following procedures re treatment and administration policies, but we wanted to post this letter and make all parents aware and to provide information about head lice.
Recently there have been a number of inquiries to Alberta Health Services (AHS) from parents and schools regarding the treatment of head lice. This communication is intended to be a resource for teachers, parents and legal guardians, since there has been a confirmed case of head lice in our school.
Head Lice are not a health hazard, a sign of poor hygiene, or a vector for infectious disease, but they are a societal issue. There is often significant stigma related to having, or being suspected to have, head lice, and working to remove them requires effort on the part of the parents. Head lice are spread mainly through direct head to head or hair-to-hair contact; however, they can occasionally be spread through clothing or personal items (such as hats or hair brushes). Head lice do not hop (jump), swim or fly, but can crawl at a rapid rate. Head lice can survive for up to two days away from the human host.
AHS recommends that families of children in the classroom where a case of active head lice has been detected be alerted that they MAY have been exposed. The following AHS website is helpful when alerting families of children in the classroom where a case of active head lice has been detected, or when periodically reminding parents to check their child’s head as a precautionary measure: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/assets/info/school/if-sch-sh-head-lice-and-how-to-treat-them.pdf For your convenience, I have attached a copy of the website document to this letter.
When managing cases of head lice, it is important to note that danger of exclusion, stigmatization and bullying is more significant than the direct medical effect of the lice themselves. As such, AHS recommends that sensitivity and discretion be exercised when communicating situations of active lice. To help ensure anonymity of those involved, it is recommended that the least amount of identifying information be shared only to those who need to know about the matter.
To limit the spread of head lice, proactive approaches might include, but are not limited to:
- Regular reminders for families to examine the scalps of school-age children. This may help to discover and treat lice before they spread to others;
- Ongoing consideration of environmental or behavioral factors that could help prevent the spread of lice such as limited head to head contact when possible (e.g., avoid taking selfies together or such things as sharing hats or hair brushes);
- Regular reminders for teachers and parents/guardians to access and use head lice resources on MyHealth.Alberta.ca.
For additional support on how to manage difficult-to-treat cases of head lice, you are encouraged to speak with the Public Health Nurse connected to your school @ 780-849-3947
Thank you very much for your cooperation on this matter.
Erin Reilly, Principal
Red Earth Creek School