Head Lice

Head Lice (Pediculosis)

Revised February 2018

If you find head lice on your child, please report it to the school office immediately, so that we may take steps to control the outbreak by alerting parents and faculty.

Children must remain out of school until all lice and nits have been removed from the head.

How to Check

Have the child stand by a window or under a good light, divide the hair into sections and check carefully the hair close to the scalp for tiny, silvery nits (eggs of the louse).  These are the size of a pin head or smaller, and cemented to the hair close to the scalp, especially behind the ears, at the nape of the neck and around the hairline.

ONLY if you find nits, proceed with treatment. Insecticidal shampoos do NOT prevent lice.

It is important to check or inform all family members, baby sitters and playmates.

Only humans get lice, not pets or stuffed toys.Lice do not jump or fly from one head to another; they’re anatomically incapable of doing that.


Prompt and efficient treatment will eradicate the lice and nits. Various insecticidal shampoos are available, but in fact lice are increasingly resistant to the chemicals they use. The National Pediculosis Association states that “manual removal is the best option whenever possible”.

Combing towards the scalp with a fine steel tooth comb may help to remove nits. The combs you can get from the pharmacy are able to get some (but not all) the eggs from the hair. There’s a superior comb that has special grooves that can pick the eggs off the hair. It’s called the “Nit-free terminator”. Using a thumbnail against the first finger on a few strands of hair at a time can also be effective. Warming the comb can be helpful in attracting lice; Harvard School of Public Heath suggests combing the hair wet. To make combing easier, put a good amount of conditioner throughout the hair before you comb. Doing this will slow the movement of the lice bug which makes combing them out a lot easier. It is advisable to section the hair and do it in a strategic manner to ensure all parts of the head are covered. Rubbing diluted tea tree oil or vinegar into the hair also makes nits easier to remove (though vinegar can sting if it gets into the eyes or lice bites).

Insecticidal shampoos will not kill the nits, so whether they are used or not EVERY SINGLE NIT MUST BE REMOVED.  This is painstaking, time consuming (allow 2 to 3 hours) and frustrating, but essential to prevent re-infestation.  The head will need to be checked night and morning for 7 to 10 days.

Lice are not likely to be found away from human heads, though children should be discouraged from sharing hairbrushes, hats, headphones and other personal items. According to the National Pediculosis Association, “vacuuming is the safest and best way to remove lice or fallen hairs with nits attached from upholstered furniture, rugs, stuffed animals or car seats.” “You can put bed linens, stuffed animals and other items in a dryer for 30 minutes.”

The York Region Health Unit has confirmed that lice prefer clean hair.


York Region Health Services Department – Health Connection: 1-800-361-5653; AccessYork@york.ca.

The National Pediculosis Association: www.headlice.org

Many other resources for advice, products and services are available on line.


The Lice Squad: www.licesquad.com, 1-888-542-3778

The Lice People: www.thelicepeople.com, 416-700-7434

Nitwits: www.nitwits.ca, 416-546-4455