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Talking Lice with Lead Mt. Kisco Nurse Freedman

MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – There is hardly a more powerful word in the English language than “lice.” In fact, its power is so great, there is a high probability you just scratched your head because you read the word.

This power is not just transmitted through the page, but also through the minds of parents as schools are back in session. The Daily Mt. Kisco recently sat down with the Mt. Kisco Elementary School nurse and lead nurse of the Bedford Central School District, Paula Freeman, to discuss the pesky problem.

Q: How do lice travel from person to person?

Paula Freedman : Head lice do not fly or jump from person to person. Head to head contact, or contact with an infested piece of clothing, pillow, stuffed animal, etc. is what allows them to travel.

Q: If you think your child has a case, where should you look?

P.F: Very often, they’re found behind the ears, the base of the neck. And it’s very often you see kids scratch the top of their head. Behind the ears is the most popular, though, since it’s very warm and they like the warm.

Q: What should a parent do once they see the lice, even on a school day?

P.F: If it’s a child and they’re in school, we always say to call the nurse and let them know you found the lice. Come to the nurse and then we check it with our special light to really see them clearly. If they have been treated and there are no live lice, they’re allowed in school. Even with nits (eggs). The nits can be there and be dead or on the way out (on the end of the hair) and it’s safe for school. You don’t want a loss of school time.

Q: If a child does go to school with potential for lice, what do you suggest?

P.F: We ask parents of girls and boys with long hair to wear the child’s hair in ponytails, since the free hair can swing and that’s how they can move from hair to hair. Children should not share hats, brushes, combs, scarves, stuffed animals, etc. Coats with hoods, sports equipment; don’t share those even in a family. That’s how a whole family can get it.

For any additional information, Freedman suggests parents to visit The Center for Disease Control’s website.

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