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Health Alerts

Whooping Cough

Head Lice

Whooping Cough

A recent outbreak of Pertussis, aka Whooping Cough, is happening locally and throughout California. Please take a moment to read this health advisory from OUSD.

In short:

  • All women of childbearing age should get a booster shot to prevent spreading whooping cough to newborns and infants.
  • Babies and young children should be fully immunized for Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (DTaP) by age 6.
  • For everyone 7 years or older there is a whooping cough booster shot (Tdap). If your younger children have not received the full DTaP vaccination series, or your older children need a Tdap booster shot, please see your medical provider.
  • If you do not have medical coverage, attend one of the free back-to-school clinics (visit or call Alameda County Public Health Clearinghouse toll free at (888) 604-4636 for a doctor or medical plan referral.
  • More information is available at

alouseHead Lice: They’re Lousy

If you’ve never had the experience of finding a louse scurrying across your child’s head, count yourself lucky! Lice are an unfortunate part of school life, and spread easily when heads are in close contact. Most schools have regular lice outbreaks, particularly in the lower grades, and Peralta is no exception.

Lice are a huge hassle and getting rid of them usually requires several treatments, ongoing vigilence, and many loads of laundry. Even so, lice do not spread disease and are not considered a health hazard. So if you find a louse, don’t panic!

Please inform your child’s teacher and the front office if your child has lice. You will receive a notice if two or more children in your child’s grade have been infected.

You can help prevent the spread of lice by:

  • Checking your child’s head at least once a week
  • Buying a nit comb, which makes it easier to check, and to remove the lice and nits, or eggs. The Nit Free Terminator is a comb recommended by local lice salons. The teeth have grooves to catch the nits.
  • Keeping your child home until they’ve been treated
  • Educating yourself on the louse life cycle (not the nicest homework assignment, but necessary)
  • Educating yourself on effective lice treatments

Many over-the-counter treatments contain pesticides. However, many Peralta parents rely on non-pesticide treatments with great success. These treatments usually involve saturating the hair with a gooey substance like hair conditioner, Cetaphil Gentle Facial Cleanser, or even olive oil or mayonnaise. These immobilize the lice while you comb them out.

Click here to download pesticide-free bug busting details, and some details on louse life cycles, from two seasoned Peralta parents.

Click here for details on the Cetaphil treatment, also known as the Nuvo treatment.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Head Lice

A Parent’s Guide to Head Lice from the California Department of Health Services

Lice Salons

If you need help and don’t mind paying for it, several local businesses offer delousing services:

Nit Pixies 5009 Woodminster Lane, Oakland

Catcher’s Nitz 1752 Alcatraz Ave, Berkeley

nitNit Tips

Lice go through three distinct stages: Nits, or eggs, which are glued onto the hair shaft; nymphs, or juveniles, which can move around; and full-grown adults. Nits can be tricky to spot, for the uninitiated.

  • Nits are hard to remove from the hair.
  • Nits feel like little grains of sand stuck to the hair. You may feel them before you see them.
  • Dandruff can be flicked off with your finger. Nits cannot.
  • Nits are tiny and yellowish-white, and have an oval shape like a sesame seed. Dandruff is larger and more irregular in shape, with rough edges.