Health Services » Head Lice (Pediculosis)

Head Lice (Pediculosis)

Head Lice
West ISD follows the Texas Department of State Health Services recommendations in the treatment of lice and the attendance guidelines for lice re-admittance to school. Scientific evidence supports our school policy of no exclusion from school for nits alone. In unusual circumstances, school policy may be modified by West ISD administration and the school principal. The best treatment is prevention. Throughout the school year, check your child’s hair on a regular basis and especially after an overnight visit with other children. Teach your child to prevent the spread of lice by avoiding head-to-head contact, sharing of hats, combs, brushes, etc. Eggs (nits) are not 100% killed by lice treatments and they will hatch in 7-10 days. Therefore, remove all nits to permit early recognition of any new infestation. 

Managing Head Lice in School Settings and at Home

The following fact sheets (English and Spanish) are copyright free and can be downloaded. They can be printed in black and white or in color to distribute to parents, caregivers and school staff to inform them about head lice.  All are PDF documents.

Head Lice (Pediculosis) Fact Sheets - English


Hojas Informativas Sobre los Piojos en la Cabeza - En Español


Pediculosis, or head lice, is a condition that affects school-aged children each year. Head lice will infest all socioeconomic groups, races, genders and ages, but are more commonly found in children due to close contact with each other. Lice are not a sign of poor hygiene and they do not transmit disease. Head lice are parasites that are generally found on the scalp, around the ears and at the back of the neck. The adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, and can be reddish brown in color. Eggs, or nits, are smaller and silver in color. They are firmly glued to the hair shaft. They may remain on the hair shaft for weeks, months or even years.
The most common symptom of head lice is head scratching, particularly at night, although red bite marks may also be noticed. If you suspect that a child has head lice, have someone familiar with the procedure check the child’s head. Diagnosis is usually made on the basis of symptoms and confirmed through the identification of a live louse on the head. Identification of a nit, egg, is not confirmation of a live infestation.
To treat head lice begin with an over-the-counter lice product and use a nit picking fine tooth comb to remove any eggs, nits, that may be found. It is important to follow the directions carefully. Parents will need to wash in hot water (130 degrees F) and dry in dryer for 20 minutes all recently worn clothing, hats, bed linens and towels, etc. used by person(s) with head lice. Non-washable items should be dry cleaned or sealed in a plastic bag for at least two weeks. Also, vacuum all carpets, upholstery and mattresses. Personal care items such as combs, brushes and hair clips, etc. should also be soaked in hot water (at least 130 degrees F) and pediculicide, lice shampoo, for 5-10 minutes. Place pillows in the dryer for 20 minutes and DO NOT forget backpacks, jackets and hair ornaments.
If the traditional treatment of lice is not successful, you may need to contact your health care provider. Studies have shown that head lice are learning to outsmart many neurotoxic pesticides, over-the counter products, and are developing a resistance to these products. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the first and only prescription medication that kills head lice by asphyxiation without potential neurotoxic side effects.
Lice Facts:
  • Lice DO NOT fly, jump or hop from one person to another.
  • You ARE NOT more likely to get lice if you have long hair.
  • Lice ARE NOT more commonly found in people who are sick, have poor hygiene or live in dirty houses.
  • You CAN NOT get lice from your dog, cat, gerbil or other furry pet.
  • Lice DO NOT carry germs that cause illness.
  • People CAN NOT feel lice bite their scalps.
  • Lice bites DO NOT cause redness and rashes of the scalp.
  • Nits found anywhere on the head DOES NOT mean the child is still infested.
  • Pediculicides DO NOT cause neurologic damage and cancer.
  • Professional exterminators SHOULD NOT be hired to eradicate lice in schools and at home.