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NQT: Head Lice!

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by Easton, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. Hello all
    I'm an NQT in my last term of my first year (yay!). All has gone pretty swimmingly so far and I've had an amazing time!
    However, there is a girl in my Year 5 class with a persistant headlice problem. Apparently the problem has existed her whole way through the school. She is quite infested with them and can often be seen pulling them out of her hair and having a little fiddle! Despite involvement of the school nurse and social services the problem is still present and both herself and Mum refuse to deal with the situation. We regularly send out head lice letters and have warned all the children of issues such as sharing hairbrushes etc. These precautions have not stopped a large majority the children in the class catching the lice at some point since September. Generally the other children's parents deal with the problem quickly and thoroughly.
    Last night I was routinely nit combing my hair and....to my utter disgust and shock I found signs that I too have caught the dreaded creatures. I was quite distraught last night and ventured out to buy some treatment at around midnight, spent 2 hours nit combing and washing and consequently missed my bus to work this morning and had to fork out for a taxi! I guess I am seeking some reassurance that I am not the only teacher to have caught this awful things as it has really made me feel quite ashamed!
    Also, I am wondering if anyone has any ideas for a course of action to sort this problem out? As I said social services and the school nurse have been involved, but as Mum does not co-operate it seems these things fizzle out quite quickly. I did a PSHE session on headlice this afternoon and stressed the importance of regular nit combing, but I have been told I can't speak to the girl directly. After asking which of the children had a nit comb the girl in question was the only one without her hand up. Is it acceptable to buy her a nit comb??! Any help would be hugely appreciated!

    Thank you!
     
  2. Hello all
    I'm an NQT in my last term of my first year (yay!). All has gone pretty swimmingly so far and I've had an amazing time!
    However, there is a girl in my Year 5 class with a persistant headlice problem. Apparently the problem has existed her whole way through the school. She is quite infested with them and can often be seen pulling them out of her hair and having a little fiddle! Despite involvement of the school nurse and social services the problem is still present and both herself and Mum refuse to deal with the situation. We regularly send out head lice letters and have warned all the children of issues such as sharing hairbrushes etc. These precautions have not stopped a large majority the children in the class catching the lice at some point since September. Generally the other children's parents deal with the problem quickly and thoroughly.
    Last night I was routinely nit combing my hair and....to my utter disgust and shock I found signs that I too have caught the dreaded creatures. I was quite distraught last night and ventured out to buy some treatment at around midnight, spent 2 hours nit combing and washing and consequently missed my bus to work this morning and had to fork out for a taxi! I guess I am seeking some reassurance that I am not the only teacher to have caught this awful things as it has really made me feel quite ashamed!
    Also, I am wondering if anyone has any ideas for a course of action to sort this problem out? As I said social services and the school nurse have been involved, but as Mum does not co-operate it seems these things fizzle out quite quickly. I did a PSHE session on headlice this afternoon and stressed the importance of regular nit combing, but I have been told I can't speak to the girl directly. After asking which of the children had a nit comb the girl in question was the only one without her hand up. Is it acceptable to buy her a nit comb??! Any help would be hugely appreciated!

    Thank you!
     
  3. Urgh.....[​IMG]
    Seriously, chill out.... just wait til you have your own kids and they are of nursery age and bringing them home every other week themselves, not because you don't deal with it at home, but that all it takes is for one other parent to be lax about their routine and never breaking the cycle. The number of times I have been convinced that my own children have brought 'visitors' home, and given them to me, only to find I was imagining it. [​IMG]
    My children's school has had particular problems with my youngest daughter's class...they send home the standard anonymous nit letters and frequently have the school nurse in to speak to the children AND the parents.
    They must have got the end of their tethers last year as they sent home a letter telling us that one of the staff (nursery nurse) had been on a course and was qualified to look at the children's hair if there was a question of whether they were infested. We were asked to sign a letter to say that we gave permission for this to happen.
    They also sent home the warning that children who were found to have headlice would be sent home until they were treated and they have actively followed this policy through. Several friends of my daughter have been collected to be treated and the incidences of infestation have really cut back since.
    I would follow this protocol....next time she is seen to be crawling, phone home and ask that she be collected and returned only once they have been treated for the headlice. You would phone a child's parent to collect a child full of cold, to save them infecting their friends and this is similar.
    It is very unusual for the problem to persist in year 5. Once I had a year 5 parent absolutely livid that their child had "had nits 13 times since September" and it was only January. What they failed to see was that they were combing the things out, but never quite breaking the cycle. One tiny missed baby louse is a fully egg laying adult just a week or two later and they didn't realise that they probably had never got rid of the original problem.
    Good luck.
     
  4. That would depend entirely on school policy for the issue of nits.
     
  5. Easy, got this one sorted - do what I do - shave your head on a grade one. Works for me. [​IMG]
     
  6. katnoodle

    katnoodle New commenter

    Very common I believe - my best friend's a Year 3/4 teacher and she catches them all the time!
    To my misery I caught headlice regularly between the ages of 16 and 18 from a friend ... I could just never build up the courage to tell her! [​IMG]
     
  7. You're certainly not the only one. I caught them last year during my PGCE. Take comfort in the fact that you found them yourself: I didn't find out til I was halfway through a haircut! The hairdresser announced she couldn't finish the cut because of my headlice...utter humiliation! I think I must've had them for a while, I was absolutely crawlng with them... euwww! I still get paranoid now about them, I keep checking and every time we send out a head lice letter I start to itch...
     
  8. No, it's not similar. It's not an illness. I don't think you're allowed, legally, to do that. (just something i half-remember from my obsessive internet searching when i had them myself!)
     
  9. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    There's a law on that now, is there?
    What you probably mean is that schools are advised by some LAs not to send children home if they have headlice. It's not a rule, it's advice and - in fact - many heads do contact parents and insist they treat the child's headlice before returning the child to school.
    It's the head's call, however - what I do not advise is that any teacher takes unilateral action on this. What the staff might want to do is talk to the head about what can be done whewre a parent is clearly not doing what a parent should do.
     
  10. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Getting headlice is an occupational hazard I'm afraid. I just treat myself every long holiday, just in case...then any other time I notice. Probably 2-3 times a year.
     
  11. As a scientist - a couple of points about head lice.
    They affect all people regardless of hygiene (clean or dirty hair) they are spread by head to head contact (they don't fly, swim, jump etc.).
    They are not dangerous but cause irritation/itching. The worst that happens is skin irritation and possible skin sores and infection (not from the lice but from scratching and creating wounds/bleeds).
    Occupational hazard, but many heads will tell parents not to let a child return to school until the issue is sorted.
    James
     
  12. As a parent I was MORTIFIED when I noticed my 18 months old had head lice. Went through the whole thing of wishing the floor would swallow me up and feeling absolute shame. Having tried the pesticides - and to my shock - found they do not work I phoned up the experts.
    • The guidance is - no point in using pesticides - the lice are generally resistant.
    • Get a kit called 'The Bug Buster Kit' It has the finest combs you can get to pull the nits off with.
    • Keep repeating the combing though every 3 - 4 days. The smaller nits will have grown enough to be pulled off.
    • You need wet hair that has been conditioned - not too generous a use of conditioner as the nits slip through. Wet keeps the nits still so you can pull them out.
    • You will find there are main areas where they congregate e.g. near the ear area as the veins are easier to locate to feed off.
    • Peak periods are October and March.
    • As for the child concerned - ensure her hair is in bunches - or better still - plaits and that might help contain her spreading it. Have some nice hair ties and she can do it herself.
    • Generally, Yrs 3 - 4 tend to be the threshold for nits as the children are putting heads together less after that.
    I feel sorry for the little girl as it can't be pelasant for her.
    Good luck
     
  13. I keep a nit comb in the shower and comb through every other day when conditioning. It only takes 2 minutes and it stops me being paranoid.
    Every 2 days is enough to break the life cycle.
     

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