One Dartmouth pharmacist said she's never seen so many lice problems this late in the fall.

A family in New Glasgow is frustrated a lice outbreak at a local elementary school has continued and that all efforts to get rid of the itch-inducing bugs have failed.

They apparently aren’t alone, with one Dartmouth pharmacist saying she’s never seen so many people with lice this far into autumn.

Debbie Fisher said her granddaughter has been sent home five times from her school since September. Every time the family thinks they have the little girl’s head problem beat, the insects come crawling back.

It’s so bad that Fisher said her granddaughter’s head is raw from the treatments and scratching.

"It seems to be one classroom in her school. Her teacher has had it three times herself," Fisher said.

Fisher is criticizing the policy of the local school board, which allows children to remain in class if they only have nits. She said those nits turn into lice, creating a "vicious cycle."


But pharmacist Wendy Coffin said she’s fine with children staying in class when they have nits.

Coffin said she’s used to seeing a lot of lice problems early in the fall, but she’s never seen so many this late in the year.

The likely problem, she said, is people aren’t using the right treatment.

"Sometimes people even come in looking for something preventative, like a tea tree oil shampoo,” Coffin said.

“There's in fact no evidence for that, so I tend to advise against that. But if they have found a live louse on their head, what we usually recommend is the insecticidal products."

Two years ago the Halifax Regional School Board changed its lice policy, allowing students to remain in class when they have nits.

The problem with requiring children to be nit-free, the board said, was students were missing too much school.