Head lice, also know as pediculosis, spreads from person to person and can be itchy and uncomfortable but are not a major public health concern because they do not spread illness or disease. Schools, parents and the school public health nurse all have a role to play in the control and management of head lice.
Vancouver school health manual - Section 16: Head lice & bed bugs
Notice to parents about head liceTreatment options: Kill the head lice and remove the nitsGetting rid of head liceHead lice facts
- Implement head lice management protocols and guidelines based on best practices and health recommendations. Our head lice package includes a notice to parents, alert letter, fact sheet and treatment options materials for you to use.
- Promote best practices for head lice management as outlined by the public health nurse. This can include holding annual or biannual head lice awareness weeks where activities are designed to promote facts and dispel myths or distributing ongoing awareness materials and head check reminders via newsletters, websites, bulletin boards, health fairs, open houses, parent-teacher evenings, PAC meetings or other group events.
- Develop a resource library or section on the school website with information and best practice guidelines for management of head lice.
Head lice alert - Letter to parents
The school public health nurse does not perform individual or group checks, support mass screening head checks or provide treatment to individuals or groups. Instead, he or she will:
- Ensure schools are provided with standardized, evidence-based head lice information for staff, teachers and parents.
- Act as a resource for clarification or information about the management of head lice including speaking to parent groups, advisory meetings or preschool/kindergarten entry meetings as requested.
- Provide support and resources to schools for development of head lice management practices. We do not support exclusion from school due to head lice.
- Build capacity of facility staff, parents and other caregivers in the treatment and management of head lice.
- Take a proactive approach in understanding lice facts and myths.
- Teach your child about prevention of head lice (e.g. not sharing hats, headsets, scarves, helmets)
- Ask questions and get information about lice, prevention and treatment options.
- Check the heads of every member of the household when lice have been identified in a close contact.
- Only treat household members who actually have head lice.
- Use a recommended treatment.
Bed bugs are small, brownish insects that feed on the blood of people, other mammals and birds. They are about 4-5 mm (1⁄4 inch) long. They are not a major public health concern because they do not spread illness or disease. Visit the bed bugs page for more information.