Head Lice Epidemic

Head Lice Epidemic

Shannon Twomey and Brooke Moretti

ve you been constantly itching your head? What about redness behind your ears? These might be signs you are carrying head lice.

Approximately a month the first case of head lice was spotted at Pentucket. Since then, five students have been sent home with these insects inhabiting their heads. There have been no reports of headlice at the high school yet; two students from the Bagnall Elementary School in Groveland, and three students from the the Sweetsir School in Merrimac. Letters have been sent home to families regarding this nuisance.


Prevention and Treatment

          When an outbreak of head lice occurs, the district will send home a letter informing parents of the head lice epidemic at the school. If a student has head lice, he/she will be sent home. However, if the student only has nits (the eggs of the lice), he/she does not need to be sent home. “Believe it or not, you don’t have to go home with nits, it’s only if you have live lice crawling in your hair,” Pentucket High School’s nurse, Ms. Therrien explains.


The school encourages parents to remove the nits, and use a lice shampoo and cream to treat the bugs. After these steps have been taken to treat the lice, the school nurse will check the student’s head for any bugs. Any stuffed animals or pillows on the bed of one who has lice should be bagged for up to two weeks. The lack of oxygen effectively kills off the lice that may be living in them. It is highly suggested to wash all bedding, in order to kill any lice that may still be living. When one has lice, it is important to put the bedding through the dryer daily. The heat from the dryer kills any living bugs, thus preventing the spread of lice.
Ms. Therrien recommends an all natural spray that can be found online, which prevents lice from staying in hair. Beware of sharing hats, brushes, clothes, sleeping bags and beds, which makes it easier for lice to travel from person to person. Following these steps is the most effective ways to prevent and treat lice from staying in one’s home.