Head Lice Information for Parents


·         What are Head Lice?

Head lice are tiny, wingless, grayish-tan insects that live and breed in human hair.  Their eggs, called nits, are easier to see than the lice themselves and are usually found attached to the hair shafts, close to the scalp behind the ears and on the back of the head.  Nits cannot be washed away like dirt or dandruff. They must be removed with a special comb, or by manually removing them with your fingers, due to the glue-like substance that is excreted by the lice when the egg is deposited on the hair shaft.  Head lice can only survive for about 12 hours without a human host and cannot live on pets. Head lice do not cause disease.


·         How do they spread?

Head lice are spread through the sharing of personal items such as combs, brushes, hair accessories, hats, and helmets. Head to head contact is required to transfer the lice.  Many children contract lice if sharing a bed with an infested child.  Parents are encouraged to routinely check their child’s hair.


·         How are they detected?

The first clue that a child has head lice is excessive head scratching.  To check for infestation, carefully examine the hair around the back of the neck and behind the ears. If live lice are visible, student needs to be treated. 


·         What should parents do if they detect lice on their child?

If you detect head lice on your child, please treat the condition with head lice shampoo and remove nits using a fine tooth comb.  Your child may return to school, but you should advise the health office so that the condition can be monitored.  Contact the health office for further information on the treatment of head lice at 480-472-8543. 


·         What can the school do if a student has lice?

Students who are exhibiting excessive head scratching, or if live lice are visible, are sent to the health office for a head check.  Parents are notified if live lice are visible on their child and requested to treat them as defined above.  Privacy must be maintained to protect the student.  Teachers are encouraged to remind students to refrain from sharing items and touching each other’s hair.




Click here to visit the MPS Health Services Website for more information regarding head lice.