Do you allow swimmers with head lice to swim in your pool?  If so, how do you handle locker room issues with regards to towels hanging on hooks etc.  Also how to you protect your swim instructors from a child with lice?

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We don't allow anyone w/ head-lice in any of our programs.  They are sent home w/ an information sheet, including information on free clinics where they can obtain medication if unable to afford it otherwise.

Are you aware that the CDC says it is safe for people with head lice to swim in swimming pool, lakes, or rivers?  We are working on writing a new policy.  Any thoughts?

Yep, and it's not the water so much that i'm concerned about, it's the locker rooms, towels, and other child-to-child contact that has me concerned.

I'd love to see your policy when you've completed it though, it never hurts to reconsider policy and change it when new info becomes available.

Chorine does not necessarily kill lice nor is water a transmittable medium.

However, it makes for bad public policy to knowingly allow persons with lice to occupy public spaces because they are potentially disease carrying parasites.

It would probably be a good idea to check with your local health department to see if lice infestationa are mandated reporting.

We have been discussing this with our county health dept and the county medical director, they both seem to side with the CDC.  In my proposed policy I state that the person with lice will use the family changing room (we only have one) and while swimming their stuff will be contained in a plastic barrier (ie garbage bag).  We will offer swim caps to the participant and to the staff, as well as having the janitorial staff disenfect the changing room after the patron has left.  It is a very sticky situation.


Consider the perspective if one of your staff members "catches" it; it could very well be a workers comp issue for the Dr.'s visit, and medication.  They could potentially argue loss of wages as well, since one isn't supposed to enter the water for several days after treatment, which would dilute the medication and make it less effective.

We do not allow anyone with head-lice in any of our programs as well. However, what becomes difficult is knowing if a student has head-lice or not. So you are pretty much stuck to using an honesty policy. The last thing I want is to get in a situation where someone ends up accusing a child of having it when they actually don't.


Here's our policy regarding head lice...




Effective March 7, 2011


Any individuals who have head lice may not use any City of Roseville aquatic facilities until 48 hours after treatment has been initiated and all nits are removed from hair. Swimming within 1-2 days of treatment will make the treatment less effective. City of Roseville staff must be informed that head lice has been contracted if they are a swim lesson participant.


According to the Centers on Disease Control and Prevention, “head lice are unlikely to be spread through the use of swimming pools.  Head lice survive by holding onto hair, although pool chlorine levels do not kill lice, the lice are not likely to let go when a person’s head goes under water.”


“Head lice can be spread by sharing towels or other items that have been in contact with an infected person’s hair. To protect oneself from head lice at the pool, do not share towels, hair brushes or other items that come into contact with someone else’s hair. “



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